The Stanford football team is drawing plenty of attention heading into the 2013 season as eight more players have been named to preseason watch lists.
Three Cardinal players -- Kevin Danser, Cameron Fleming and David Yankey -- were named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy as announced by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Thursday morning.
Stanford has the most offensive lineman selections of any school, with a total of 56 players garnering preseason attention. Eleven other schools had two players selected on the offensive line. Additionally a total of 19 defensive tackles were named.
Meanwhile, Ben Gardner, Trent Murphy, Shayne Skov and Ed Reynolds were named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list by the same organization. Stanford was matched by only Alabama with that many players mentioned. The complete list features 28 linemen, 27 linebackers and 26 defensive backs.
Also, Reynolds and strong safety Jordan Richards have been named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The award is presented to the best defensive back.
The award was established in 1986 after its namesake. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Created in 1993 by the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the best defensive player in college football and is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The award was established to compliment the Heisman Trophy Award.
Gardner, Murphy and Skov are also on the Bednarik Watch List, presented annually to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
Gardner, a two-time All-Pac-12 selection, started all 14 games at defensive end in 2012 and helped lead one of the nation's top defenses. He tied for second on the team in both tackles for a loss (14.5) and sacks (7.5).
Murphy, an AP third team All-America and Butkus Award semifinalist, was a frequent visitor in the backfield last season, when he led the Cardinal with 10.0 sacks and 18.0 TFL.
Skov returned to the lineup in 2012 after major knee surgery and returned to dominant form by season's end. From family roots in Guadalajara, Mexico, Skov is firmly rooted as the program's emotional leader. His numbers stack up as well as he totaled a team-leading 82 tackles (43 solo) with 7.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks from the inside linebacker spot in 2012 despite not being 100 percent.
Reynolds, a preseason nominee for the Lott IMPACT Award, established himself with a noteworthy junior campaign. The 2012 third team AP All-American led the Cardinal with six interceptions, three of which he returned for a touchdown to set a school record. Reynolds ranked first nationally with 301 interception return yards, one yard short of the NCAA single-season record set in 1974 by USC's Charles Phillips.
The FWAA chooses a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday during the season. If not already on the watch list, the honored player will then be added. Five finalists for the 2013 trophy will be announced on Nov. 21.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are also part of the 2013 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, with voting input from the association's entire membership, selects the 25-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members select the winner, the best defensive player in America.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte.
The Outland Trophy has been presented annually since 1946 to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman as determined by the FWAA.
With Stanford boasting what many believe to be the nation's top offensive line, Yankey headlines the group as a two-year watch list member.
One of the most dominant and versatile offensive linemen in the nation, Yankey goes into his senior campaign as a preseason candidate for numerous awards. He will move to left guard in 2013 after starting 14 games at left tackle in 2012, where he was named Consensus All-America selection. Yankey earned first team honors by the American Football Coaches Association and Sporting News while garnering second-team honors by the Associated Press. He was the 2012 Morris Trophy winner as the outstanding offensive lineman in the Pac-12 and has started 27 career games and three-year contributor.
Yankey was earlier named to The Maxwell Award Watch List, given annually to America's College Player of the Year since 1937.
Danser, was an All-Pac-12 selection as well as a Pac-12 All-Academic pick in 2012 and is a 2013 preseason all-conference frontrunner from numerous publications. He started all 14 games at right guard, admirably filling the large shoes left by unanimous All-America David DeCastro, who went on to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. Danser quickly evolved into one of the conference's top guards, paving the way for 174.3 yards per game rushing in 2012 in front of Stanford's second-time all-time leading rusher, Stepfan Taylor .
Fleming enters his third season as a starter at right tackle having started all 14 games last year and 11 as a sophomore. A two-time All-Pac-12 selection, Fleming's name has been on the national scene since 2011 when he was named to the Yahoo! Freshman All-America team. He joins Danser and Yankey as preseason honorees for 2013 Pac-12 honors in various publications.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA
All-America Committee, with voting input from its membership, selects the 25-man team and the three Outland finalists. Committee members then select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 20. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named. The winner of the 68th Outland Trophy will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12 from Disney's Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Stanford's season opens Sept. 7 with an 8 p.m. (PT) home game against a San Jose State team that won 11 games a year ago. The game will be televised nationally on Pac-12 Networks.