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Wisconsin football: Corey Clement, Vince Biegel named to 2016 watch lists

Two Badgers are recognized on these decorated preseason lists.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Two Wisconsin Badgers seniors are receiving preseason love from award committees. Running back Corey Clement and outside linebacker Vince Biegel were named on Monday to the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award, respectively.

Clement returns to Madison after an injury-shortened 2015 where he only rushed for 221 yards and five touchdowns in four games. The New Jersey native hopes to recapture the form he displayed backing up Melvin Gordon in 2014, where he ran for 949 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Maxwell Award is bestowed upon the nation’s top player.

Biegel returns for his fifth year after forming one of the most productive linebacking duos in college football with the now-departed Joe Schobert. He recorded 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season. In the past two seasons alone, Biegel accumulated 30.5 tackles for loss for Top-10 defensive units that were among the best in the country.

The Bednarik Award is presented to college football’s “most outstanding defensive player.”

Here’s the official press release from the UW Athletic Department:

Biegel, Clement named to preseason watch lists

Wisconsin seniors eyed for Bednarik, Maxwell awards

July 5, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin seniors Vince Biegel and Corey Clement are getting early looks for two of college football’s most prestigious prizes.

Clement was named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation’s top player, while Biegel earned preseason recognition from the Bednarik Award, presented to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.

The Maxwell Football Club announced preseason watch lists for both honors Tuesday. The Maxwell Award will be presented for the 80th time his fall, while the Bednarik Award is being presented for the 22nd-consecutive year.

Clement enters his senior season looking to regain the form he showed at running back before being slowed by an injury last season that limited him to just 48 rushing attempts for 221 yards and five touchdowns. The Glassboro, New Jersey, native saw action in only four games in 2015.

As a sophomore, Clement rushed for 949 yards and nine TDs as the backup to Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. That came on the heels of an impressive debut season in 2013 in which he recorded 547 yards on just 67 carries (8.2 average) as UW’s No. 3 tailback behind Gordon and James White.

Biegel is the top returner for a Badgers unit that led the nation in scoring defense (13.7 points per game) and ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense (268.5 yards per game) last season. The outside linebacker from Wisconsin Rapids was a third-team All-Big Ten selection while recording 66 total tackles – including 14.0 for loss and 8.0 sacks – as a junior in 2015.

Pro Football Focus has rated Biegel the nation’s top returning outside linebacker, grading him No. 1 both against the run and as a pass rusher.

The Maxwell Football Club will announce semifinalists for both awards on Oct. 31 and finalists on Nov. 21. The winners will be named during The Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.