FAYETTEVILLE - Conference media days are often seen as one of the first signs college football is near. But one event - rather, one series of events - beats media days to the punch.

FAYETTEVILLE - Conference media days are often seen as one of the first signs college football is near. But one event - rather, one series of events - beats media days to the punch.


College football award watch lists began to trickle just after Independence Day.


The first two announced were the Maxwell and Bednarik awards. Maxwell is for college football’s best player. Bednarik is college football’s best defensive player.


Arkansas running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins were both on the Maxwell list.


Williams ran for 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. The yards were the eighth-most in school history and earned him second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors.


Collins joined Williams in the 1,000-yard club with 1,000. He added another 12 touchdowns, as well.


The two were both part of preseason All-SEC teams in various college football preview magazines, including Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.


The Maxwell watchlist is trimmed to semifinalists on November 2 and the three finalists are named November 23. The award is presented at the College Football Awards Show on December 10.