USAFA — On Tuesday, a pair of Air Force football players were named to preseason watch lists.
Senior outside linebacker Vince Sanford was one of 85 defensive players to be named to the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, while junior offensive lineman Everett Smalley was one of 89 returning standout interior linemen named to the 2022 Outland Trophy watch list.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been awarded annually since 1993 to the best collegiate American football defensive player, while the Outland Trophy is awarded to the best college football interior lineman.
Sanford is among the national returning leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. He is the leading returner in the MW and eighth nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 1.3 per game in 2021. Sanford in second in the MW and 13th nationally in sacks with a .73 per-game average from last season.
Smalley was part of an offensive line that was outstanding all season, as the unit had eight different starting lineups up front. The line started three different centers. Despite the changes, the unit helped the Falcons lead the nation in rushing (327.7) and time of possession (36:35). The group also helped set an Air Force record for consecutive weeks leading the nation in rushing with 10, breaking the record of eight set in 2010. The Falcons were the only team in the nation to average 300-plus rushing yards per game. This past season, the offensive line became the first non-Power 5 unit to be a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, giving annually to the nation's top offensive line.
Last week saw Air Force fullback fullback Brad Roberts named to the Maxwell Award (outstanding player) watch list.
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