The Maxwell Football Club has released its initial 2013 watch lists for the prestigious Maxwell and Bednarik Awards, and five members of the Buckeyes made the cut, according to Ohio State's official website.
Quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde are on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented to the "College Player of the Year."
Linebacker Ryan Shazier, cornerback Bradley Roby and safety C.J. Barnett are on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, present to the "College Defensive Player of the Year."
Miller and Hyde, who combined to run for 2,241 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, return to what should be one of the most explosive backfields in the country. Both will benefit from operating behind an experienced offensive line and the familiarity that comes with running Urban Meyer's system for the second year.
Miller has always been lethal on the ground, but the junior quarterback has been working hard during the offseason to improve his skills in the passing game. If Miller combines an improved throwing ability with his natural running skills, postseason awards will be hard to avoid.
Hyde was just 30 rushing yards shy of becoming the first running back coached by Meyer to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, something he's aiming to do this season.
Shazier, who led the Buckeyes with 115 tackles and 17 tackles for loss, was voted a first team All-Big Ten linebacker by the media. Shazier is the only returning starter in Ohio State's front seven, and he will be tasked with leading a young but talented group.
Barnett and Roby, however, return alongside safety Christian Bryant to form one of the nation's most experienced secondaries. Barnett ranked fourth on the team with 56 tackles and also had two interceptions. Roby was a lockdown corner who led the nation in passes defended per game (1.73).
Running back Eddie George was the last Ohio State player to win the Maxwell Award, doing so in 1995. No Ohio State player has won the Bednarik Award, which has been awarded every year since 1995.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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