2 from Gophers football on Preseason Awards Watch Lists

This is Ibrahim’s second straight year on the Doak Walker Award Watch List.

Gophers Runningback Mohamed Ibrahim carries the ball at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Minnesota holds a 24-17 lead over Auburn heading into the third quarter of the Outback Bowl. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

Kamaan Richards

Gophers Runningback Mohamed Ibrahim carries the ball at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Minnesota holds a 24-17 lead over Auburn heading into the third quarter of the Outback Bowl. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

by Matthew Kennedy

Update: A third Gopher, linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin, was named to the Butkus Award Watch List on Monday, which is for the best college linebacker in the nation. Sori-Marin is the Gophers’ leading returning tackler and joined 50 other linebackers on the Watch List. 

Center John Michael Schmitz and running back Mohamed Ibrahim are in the running for some nice hardware before the 2022 season has even begun.

Schmitz was honored on the Rimington Award Watch List Friday, which is awarded to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman annually.

Ibrahim was named to the Doak Walker Award Watchlist Wednesday and the Maxwell Award Watch List Monday. The Maxwell Award is presented to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the nation, while the Doak Walker Award is given to the top running back.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranks Schmitz as the 4th best interior offensive lineman in the country. PFF grades every player on how well they perform on each play and is paramount to the Rimington Award’s Trophy Committee. Without the PFF data, there would be no watchlist.

“Schmitz, one of the more under-the-radar offensive linemen in the Big Ten over the past few years, enjoyed his best season yet in 2021,” said PFF. “His 88.1 PFF grade ranked third-best among FBS centers, and he earned an 87.5 run-blocking grade while also not allowing a single sack or quarterback hit in pass protection. Since 2019, Schmitz has been the second-most valuable center in the Power Five — behind only Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, now with the Baltimore Ravens. Schmitz has a real chance to take home the Rimington Trophy in 2022.”

For Ibrahim, his nomination on the Doak Walker Award list is familiar. A year ago, Ibrahim was named for the same award before unfortunately tearing his achilles tendon in week one. During that marquee game versus No. 4 Ohio State, Ibrahim rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters.

The Maxwell Award is a new avenue for Ibrahim, and he is one of 85 players nationwide selected to the Watch List. Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be revealed on Nov. 1, three finalists will be selected on Nov. 22 and the winner will be announced on Dec. 8 on the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.