After attending the Alamo Bowl last season, Iowa State returns coach Matt Campbell and several players, many of whom have been named to award watchlists.
Aside from Campbell, sophomore Brock Purdy, senior Ray Lima, senior Marcel Spears Jr., junior Jaquan Bailey, senior Greg Eisworth, junior Colin Newell and senior Charlie Kolar have all been named to award watchlists.
Campbell was named to the Dodd Trophy watchlist, which is an award given to a coach who displays scholarship, leadership and integrity.
Iowa State went 8-5 last season and made a bowl game for the second straight year. After falling one game short of the Big 12 Championship game last year, Iowa State is predicted to finish third in the conference behind Oklahoma and Texas in 2019.
Along with Campbell, 29 other coaches were named to the watchlist including Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, Texas’ Tom Herman, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Alabama’s Nick Saben.
After breaking out and leading Iowa State to a 6-2 record as a starter, Purdy is on the watchlist for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the best quarterback, and the Maxwell Award, which is given to the best overall player in the country.
Purdy is one of 30 players named to the O’Brien Award, including Alan Bowman from Texas Tech, Charlie Brewer from Baylor, Sam Ehlinger from Texas and Nate Stanley from Iowa. The last two winners of the award were Oklahoma quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield.
The winner for the Maxwell Award last season was Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
From the defensive tackle position, Lima recorded 34 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss last season and has been named to several award watchlists.
Lima was one of 83 players named to the Outland Trophy watchlist, which is given to the nation's top interior lineman. Some of the players who have won the award include Nkdamakung Suh, Aaron Donald, Brandin Scherff and last year's winner Quinnen Williams.
Lima was also added to the watchlist for the Nagurski Trophy—an award for the country’s top defensive player—as well as the Wuerffel Trophy and Lott IMPACT Trophy.
The Wuerffel Trophy is given to a player who "best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement” according to the award's webpage.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy is for a defensive player; IMPACT stands for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity. Lima is also up for the AFCA Good Works Team, which promotes volunteerism and positive impact off the field for its awardees.
Marcel Spears Jr.
Like Lima, Spears is on the watchlist for the Nagurski Trophy for the top defensive player in the country. As a starting for Iowa State last year, Spears registered 69 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two interceptions.
The Iowa State players on the watchlist are amongst 92 players named. In the last five years, the winner has consistently been a linebacker or defensive end.
Bailey is the third Iowa State player on the Nagurski watchlist—Iowa State is tied for second for the most players on the list with LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State. Alabama is first with four players.
Bailey, a defensive end, completed 46 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season. He is also on the Bednarik watchlist for the best defensive player.
Eisworth, who was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year last season, is on the Jim Thorpe Award watchlist.
The Jim Thorpe trophy is for the top defensive back in the country and has been given to the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama, Desmond King from Iowa and Patrick Peterson from LSU.
As Iowa State’s leading tackler last season, Eisworth completed 87 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups.
Newell was Iowa State’s starter last season for 12 games at center and has been named to the Rimington Trohpy watchlist for the best player in his position.
Kolar caught 11 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns last season and has been named to the John Mackey Award watchlist for the nation's top tight end.
Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson won last year, and other notable winners include Jake Butt from Michigan and Mark Andrews from Oklahoma.