by Rob Moseley
Mariota, running back Byron Marshall and running back Thomas Tyner made the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the college football player of the year as selected by the Maxwell Football Club. Mariota was a semifinalist last fall.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, a senior cornerback, was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which the Maxwell Football Club bestows upon the defensive player of the year. Ekpre-Olomu was a semifinalist last season.
Monday's announcements began a two-week rollout of preseason award watch lists that continues Tuesday with announcement by the John Mackey Award (tight ends) and Rimington Trophy (centers).
Mariota and Ekpre-Olomu figured to be solid candidates for national awards in 2014 after opting to pass up the NFL draft despite being projected as first-round picks by some analysts. Marshall is Oregon's top returning rusher, after running for 1,038 yards despite missing all but a handful of snaps over the Ducks' final two regular-season games last fall.
Tyner, a sophomore from Aloha, Ore., set a UO true freshman rushing record with 711 yards in 2013. He figures to play an even more prominent role in the offense as a sophomore, after making good progress this spring and following the departure of De'Anthony Thomas.