KNOXVILLE — Ahead of a highly anticipated 2015 season, Tennessee had five players named to preseason watch lists for two of college football's major awards Tuesday.
Linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt, defensive end Derek Barnett and cornerback Cam Sutton were named to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the top defensive player in the nation. Quarterback Josh Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd made the list for the Maxwell Award, given to the player of the year.
With their Bednarik trio, the Volunteers matched Oklahoma and Notre Dame with the most on the 80-player list and placed multiple players on the award's watch list for the first time since 2013.
Barnett set Tennessee freshman records last season with 10 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss and led SEC freshmen with 72 tackles. Maggitt finished third in the league with 11 sacks in his first season back after missing all of 2013 because of injury. Both players earned All-SEC recognition.
Sutton started all 25 Tennessee games the past two seasons and finished with 37 tackles, four for loss and a team-leading 16 passes defended in 2014.
Hurd, who's now pushing 240 pounds heading into his sophomore season, led the Vols in rushing last season (899 yards on 190 carries) despite missing most of three games due to injuries.
Dobbs guided Tennessee to four wins in his five starts at the end of last season by averaging nearly 280 yards of offense per game, tossing nine touchdown passes and running for a team-high eight scores in his six games.
The Vols' junior quarterback has been a counselor at the Elite 11 camp this week in Oregon, where 2016 Tennessee commitment Jarrett Guarantano is among the participants at the event for the nation's top rising senior quarterbacks. Dobbs also will attend the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana at the end of the week.
Maggitt, Dobbs and Sutton are expected to be Tennessee's player representatives at SEC Media Days next week.
The three finalists for both awards will be announced in November, and the winners will be announced in December as part of college football's annual award show.
Quarterback Peyton Manning won the Maxwell Award in 1997, and the Vols twice had players earn semifinalist nods for the awards: linebacker Kevin Simon in 2004 and safety Eric Berry in 2008.
Berry, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back in 2009, is Tennessee's last major award winner.
Kelly on campus
Running back John Kelly had to wait a few more weeks to join the rest of Tennessee's 2015 signing class in Knoxville, but the former three-star recruit out of Michigan joined the Vols for the start of the second session of summer classes this week.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, who will wear No. 4, ran for 1,321 yards and 21 touchdowns on 138 carries as a senior at Oak Park High School in the Detroit area.
Tennessee now has four scholarship running backs in Hurd, junior college transfer Alvin Kamara, Cincinnati graduate transfer Ralph David Abernathy IV and Kelly.
Pearson, Picou not enrolled
Suspended wide receiver Von Pearson and incoming freshman defensive tackle Quay Picou are not enrolled in the second session of summer classes.
The police investigation into an alleged rape for which Pearson was named a suspect in April remains ongoing — Pearson hasn't been charged — and he's not been enrolled in classes since finishing the spring semester.
According to the university's online directory, Picou has been admitted to Tennessee for the fall semester, but the former three-star recruit has yet to make it to campus as he completes some academic work.
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