Preseason Honors Keep Rolling In for Spartans
David Beedle (Outland Trophy), David Dowell (Jim Thorpe Award), Jake Hartbarger (Ray Guy Award) and Khari Willis (Wuerffel Trophy) named to preseason watch lists.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Four more Spartans were named to preseason watch lists this week for major national awards.
Senior offensive guard David Beedle was featured on the Outland Trophy Watch List for best interior lineman, junior safety David Dowell made the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List for the nation’s top defensive back, senior punter Jake Hartbarger earned honors from the Ray Guy Award Watch List for the country’s best punter, and senior safety Khari Willis received recognition on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List for his community service.
Previously, junior linebacker Joe Bachie (Butkus Award, Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy), junior quarterback Brian Lewerke (Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award) and senior running back LJ Scott (Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award) were named to watch lists. In addition, Lewerke was featured on the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List released on Friday.
Beedle, who started the first three games in 2017 at right guard, made the move to left guard midway through the season and started the last six games at the position. Beedle didn’t allow a sack all season and finished second on the team with 13 dominators to pick up third-team All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and media.
Dowell earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media in his first year as a starter in 2017 after leading the team and ranking tied for second in the conference with five interceptions, the most by any player in the Dantonio era. Dowell had two interceptions apiece in the wins over No. 7 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State and also had a pick at No. 11 Ohio State. In addition, he was credited with a career-high 52 tackles and four pass break-ups.
Hartbarger is back for his fourth year as the starter. A 2017 Ray Guy Award nominee, Hartbarger averaged 42.0 yards per punt and placed a career-high 28 punts inside the 20 to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades. He enters his senior season ranked eighth in MSU history in punting average (41.89) and 11th in punts (180) and punting yards (7,540). Hartbarger is one of just three starting punters since Dantonio’s arrival in 2007, joining Aaron Bates (2007-10) and Mike Sadler (2011-14).
The Wuerffel Trophy is the only major college football award that places the majority of its voting emphasis on community service. Players also must be significant contributors to their teams and be in good academic standing. Willis, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, has volunteered his time in his hometown of Jackson, Michigan, along with the Greater Lansing community. The senior safety looks to build off his career year as a junior in 2017 as he ranked fourth on the team with 71 tackles, including 5.5 for losses and four sacks. He also broke up three passes, forced a fumble and recorded two interceptions as the Spartans ranked No. 17 in the FBS in pass efficiency defense.
Michigan State reports for preseason camp on Aug. 1 and the first practice is slated for Aug. 2.