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2011 College Football Awards: Ray Graham, Tino Sunseri, Max Gruder Get Nods

Another day brings another set of awards that Pitt players will chase in 2011. Ray Graham remains one of Pitt's most viable candidates to contend for anything. He was added to the watch list for the Doak Walker award given to the nation's top running back.

There were also a few mild surprises as well.

Want further proof of just how much Todd Graham's offense is respected nationally? Look no further than the fact that Tino Sunseri has been named as a preseason candidate for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the top quarterback. If you followed this blog last season, you know I was a supporter of Tino's. No, it wasn't a popular decision, but he legitimately gave the team the best chance to win and if you looked at his numbers objectively, he was more than serviceable.

Still, up for the O'Brien Award? With all due respect, that's placing a lot of faith in Tino being able to put up huge numbers in Graham's system. To win these awards, your team generally has to have a great season or you've got to have unbelievable stats. Not sure either of those two things will happen in 2011.

Max Gruderwas also named as a candidate for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's best linebacker. Again, this seems to be a bit of a reach considering the average season he had. ESPN.com blogger Andrea Adelson sounds as if she agrees.

Sunseri and Gruder are both capable of having big seasons, so I understand the need to include both to fill out lists. Tino, in particular, could really put up decent stats in Graham's new system and I can understand that selection a bit more, I suppose.

And just in case you're losing track of which Pitt players have appeared on watch lists so far, here's a comprehensive list.