Inaugural winner Bryce Petty of Baylor and 42 other players from across the nation are included on the watch list for the second annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
The list was unveiled to grand fanfare by Christian Campbell, son of the award's namesake, on Wednesday during the ninth annual East Texas Kick-Off Luncheon at Harvey Convention Center.
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division 1 football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.
In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year college.
The watch list announced Wednesday will be narrowed to up to 16 semifinalists in November and then up to four finalists in December. They will be selected by broadcasters, commentators, journalists, fans and the previous winner. The finalists will be brought to Tyler for The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards Banquet scheduled for Jan. 14.
This year's Watch List includes:
— 43 players from nine conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Conference USA, Mountain West, Pac 12, Southeastern, Sun Belt) and three independents (Army, BYU, Navy).
— Players representing universities from 22 different states
— Wide receivers dominate the nominations with 17, followed by running backs (12), quarterbacks (8), tight ends (3), fullbacks (2), and halfback (1)
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award was announced in 2012 by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and SPORTyler.
"We are fortunate to have a celebrity who exhibits the impeccable virtues that define this award. In addition to being a well-known sports figure, Earl also earned a college degree, married his high school sweetheart, raised two successful sons, and still supports the community where he grew up," Cindy Smoak, Vice President/SPORTyler, said.
Earl Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School before joining the University of Texas Longhorns under legendary coach Darrell K Royal. In his senior year, he led the nation with 1,744 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, going on to win the school's first Heisman Trophy.
He was subsequently drafted overall No. 1 by the Houston Oilers where he won Rookie of the Year honors in 1978 and went on to lead the NFL in rushing three times. Campbell earned National Football League Most Valuable Player honors in 1979 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He now resides in Austin.
"All my life, all I wanted to do was be an athlete. I kept God in my life and surrounded myself with good people. I am humbled by this award named in my honor," Earl Campbell said.
The winner does not have to appear on the initial watch list.
Last year's winner Petty, Baylor's standout quarterback, was not on the first list. Other 2013 finalists were Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (now with the Cleveland Browns), Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro (New York Jets), Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Missouri quarterback James Franklin (Detroit Lions).
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award is presented by SPORTyler, Inc., in conjunction with the city of Tyler, the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau and Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.
Located in downtown Tyler, the nonprofit SPORTyler helps to encourage student-athletes to succeed on and off the field.
The preseason award watch list was selected from nominations submitted by the sports information directors of each Division I school.
Each week during the regular season, an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose National Player of the Week will be selected leading up to the finalists announcement in December.