(via USF Communications) - Bay Area Bulls Cameron Ruff (Tampa) and Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs) were named to national award watch lists Tuesday as the National College Football Awards continued their announcements of preseason candidates for national recognition in college football.
Ruff was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List, while Wilcox was named to the John Mackey Award Watch list. The pair joined Quinton Flowers (Maxwell) and Deatrick Nichols (Bednarik) among Bulls on national awards watch lists, the majority of which are being announced over the next two weeks.
Ruff, a senior center, was among seven American Athletic Conference players named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List, which recognizes the top center in college football. He started all 13 games at center in 2016 and earned the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award as he helped the USF offense set school records with 77 touchdowns, 47 rushing touchdowns (second in the FBS), 3,714 rushing yards and 6,650 yards of total offense, while ranking in the top 20 in the nation in sacks allowed (1.15). Behind Ruff and the Bulls offensive line, USF extend its nation-leading streak of 30-plus point games to 17 as Ruff helped pave the way for USF to finish the season ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense (285.3 ypg), fourth in scoring offense (43.8 ppg) and 11th in total offense (511.5 ypg).
Wilcox, a sophomore, was named to the watch list for the Mackey Award, presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end. Wilcox is one of four American Athletic Conference players named to the list and the third straight Bull named to the preseason list, joining Sean Price (named to the list 2013-15) and current USF junior Elkanah Dillon (Ocala), who was named to the list prior to his sophomore season.
Wilcox and Dillon form one of the most potent tight end duos in the nation. Wilcox is coming of a freshman season that saw him earn second team all-conference honors. He started the last eight games of the season as he proved to be a devastating blocker on the edge, springing numerous big plays for the Bulls. Wilcox also caught 12 passes for 278 yards (23.2 ypc) and two touchdowns as he helped the Gulf Coast Offense set school records. He started his career with a 21-yard touchdown catch against Towson and made a career long 52-yard reception against No. 13 FSU.