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Pitt's Ray Graham leads local Watch List candidates

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Graham and Lindsey of Pitt, and Smith, Irvin and Tandy of WVU named to Maxwell and Bednarik Watch Lists.

Pitt running back Ray Graham and West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith were named to the 2011 Maxwell Award Watch List, given to America's outstanding collegiate football player.

Pitt defensive end and Aliquippa graduate Brandon Lindsey was named to the Watch List for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.  West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin and cornerback Keith Tandy were also named to the Bednarik Watch List.

Graham (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) joins a group of 66 on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is given to America’s outstanding collegiate football player, dating back to 1937. Lindsey (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) is one of 65 named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is presented to the nation’s top defensive player since 1995.

Last season, Graham rushed for 922 yards and eight touchdowns on 148 carries. Additionally, he had 24 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns and recorded 23 kick returns for 501 total yards. Graham ranked third in the Big East in all-purpose yardage and had the second-highest rushing total for a single game in Pitt history with 277 yards against FIU.

Lindsey was named to the All-Big East Second Team in 2010 after leading the league in tackles for loss with 1.38 per game. Nationally, Lindsey ranked 16th in sacks (0.77 sacks/game) and 16th in tackles for loss. On the year, Lindsey totaled 51 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 31st and the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 21st. The winners of the 2011 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on December 8th.

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