The USC Trojans are off from practice this week while they try to get healthy during a bye week before the final stretch of the regular season. But a couple of Trojans still made news on Monday when they were named as semifinalists for national awards.
Buck Allen was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award while defensive end Leonard Williams doubled up on the national award watch lists. Big LW was one of the top 20 players chosen for the Bednarik Award (Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year) and Lombardi Award (top offensive lineman, defensive lineman, or linebacker).
Despite being bothered by a bad ankle early in the year and a bum shoulder that has kept him out of practice at times the last month, Leonard Williams still has 54 tackles, which is second on the team behind Butkus semifinalist Hayes Pullard.
Williams is third on the team with seven tackles for loss. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks despite seeing a ton of double teams. Williams is the top Trojan with three forced fumbles this season and has an interception while also breaking up three passes and has four pass deflections.
There isn't a game that better exemplifies Leonard Williams than his monster effort at Arizona. Williams had eight solo tackles, was credited with two sacks, forced a fumble inside the 10-yard line and a huge stuff on a two-point conversion. He is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Lombardi Award will be announced on December 10th while the Bednarik Award being presented the next day on ESPN.