Simpson headlines group of in-state players on national defensive award watchlists

Clemson LB Trenton Simpson Photo credit USA Today Sports

As the college football season approaches, defensive players from the two major in-state programs have landed on preseason watchlists for prestigious awards.

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On Monday, the Preseason Watchlist for the Butkus and Jim Thorpe awards were announced. The Butkus award goes to the nation's top linebacker, while the Thorpe award goes to the most outstanding defensive back. Clemson's Trenton Simpson and South Carolina's Sherrod Greene both made the 51 player watchlist for the Butkus Award. South Carolina's Cam Smith and Clemson's Andrew Mukuba both landed on the 35 player list for the Thorpe award.

Watchlists for the offensive side of the ball were announced last week with many in-state players landing on those lists. Clemson RB Will Shipley landed on the Doak Walker watchlist, Gamecock QB Spencer Rattler the Davey O'Brien, and South Carolina transfer WR Corey Rucker was named to the Biletnikoff watchlist. Shipley and Rattler also joined Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall on the watchlist for the Maxwell Award.

College football teams from around the state kickoff their respective seasons Labor Day Weekend.