Three more Notre Dame football players named to award watch lists

IRISH STEW

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame has no shortage of offensive playmakers returning to its backfield in 2016.

Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer was named to the watch list for the Davey O'Brien Award, which honors the country's top collegiate quarterback, on Thursday. Running backs Tarean Folston and Josh Adams were both featured on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which honors the nation's top running back.

Senior quarterback Malik Zaire, who will compete with Kizer for Notre Dame's starting job in fall camp, was omitted from the Davey O'Brien Award watch list.

A 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior, Kizer passed for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 games last season, the final 11 of which were starts. The first-time starter also rushed for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns, the latter being a school record.

Folston, who tore his ACL during the season opener against Texas and missed the remainder of the 2015 season, returns after leading the Irish in rushing in each of his first two seasons. The 5-10m 214-pound senior has rushed for 1,378 yards and nine touchdowns, while averaging 5.2 yards per rush, and added 225 receiving yards and one more score in his college career.

In Folston's absence, however, Adams shined. The 6-2, 219-pound sophomore racked up 835 rushing yards, six touchdowns and a whopping 7.1 yards per rush in his debut season in 2015.

The question seems to be not whether the Irish will make plays in 2016, but who will make them.

DeShone Kizer hands off to Tarean Folston during the Notre Dame football practice in Notre Dame Stadium Friday, April 15, 2016. Tribune photo/MICHAEL CATERINA
Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer (14) runs in a touchdown during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN
Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (33) breaks away on a touchdown run during the second half of Notre Dame-Stanford NCAA football game on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Palo Alto, Calif. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN