Three Notre Dame players named to preseason watch lists

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Welcome to Watch List Season.

The parade of preseason college football watch lists commenced on Tuesday, as the Maxwell Football Club announced the watch lists for the Maxwell Award (awarded to the college player of the year) and the Bednarik Award (given to the defensive player of the year).

Two Notre Dame quarterbacks, senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer, appeared on the Maxwell Award watch list. Senior defensive end Isaac Rochell made the cut for the Bednarik Award watch list.

A 6-foot, 225-pound senior, Zaire started the 2015 season as Notre Dame's starting quarterback, before shattering his ankle on Sept. 12 against Virginia and being sidelined for the remainder of the year. He was named MVP of Notre Dame's Music City Bowl victory over LSU in 2014, then completed 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening 38-3 win over Texas last fall.

Kizer, who relieved Zaire and started the final 11 games last season, passed for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, completing 63 percent of his passes. The 6-5, 230-pound junior also rushed for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns, the most of any Irish quarterback in school history.

Zaire and Kizer will compete for Notre Dame's starting quarterback job this fall.

Rochell — a 6-4, 290-pound senior — is the team's most productive returning defensive player, after racking up 63 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2015. He has started 26 consecutive games in his Irish career.

Click here to see the full Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award watch lists.

DeShone Kizer makes a throw during the Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend Saturday, April 16, 2016. Tribune photo/MICHAEL CATERINA