The end of July is the time many national college football awards release their watch lists containing the groups of players they’ll be keeping an eye on during the upcoming football season.
The nation’s eyes are all stalking Singletary and Al-Shaair.
Both players appear on three preseason watch lists. Never before has an FAU player appeared on three separate watch lists. Now, both Singletary and Al-Shaair have pulled off the trifecta.
The folks at the Maxwell Award, presented to the college football player of the year, the Walker Camp Award, also given to their NCAA player of the year, and the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the top running back, are all monitoring the exploits of Singletary, the Owls’ record-breaking back. Last season the back known as “Motor” led the nation with 32 rushing touchdowns while accumulating a program-record 1,920 rushing yards.
Earlier this month FAU launched a Motor For Heisman campaign, part of which features Singeltary, a junior, on a billboard along I-95.
Though Al-Shaair isn’t garnering Heisman talk, he’s no less important to the Owls. The senior finished third nationally last season with 147 tackles and is already the Owls career leader in tackles.
He played most of last season with a torn UCL that ultimately required offseason Tommy John surgery, yet only missed one game. FAU lost that game 34-31 to Buffalo, a loss that coach Lane Kiffin referred to throughout the remainder of the season as embarrassing – using it as a motivational game for the Owls moving forward.
The Bednarik Award, presented to the defensive player of the year, the Butkus Award for the best linebacker and the Nagurski Award honoring the most outstanding defensive player all placed Al-Shaair on their watch lists.
Seven months after naming Singletary its 2017 MVP, Conference USA picked him as its preseason Offensive Offensive Player of the Year. The conference selected Al-Shaair as its defensive Player of the Year.
That duo isn’t the only Owl on multiple watch lists entering the season. Cornerback Shelton Lewis joins Al-Shaair on the Nagurski watch list and is also on the Jim Thorpe watch list.
The committee in charge of the Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back, also placed safety Jalen Young on its watch list. Young’s seven interceptions last season tied for second-most nationally.
The Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end, has Harrison Bryant as one of the more than 60 players on its watch list.
Lewis, Young and Harrison are all members of the preseason All-Conference USA team.
Gerald Hearns is one of 106 players named to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, dubbed as college football’s premier award for community service.
FAU could still add another name to a watch list. A couple national awards, including the Ted Hendricks award honoring the nation’s top defensive end, has yet to announce its watch list. Either Hunter Snyder or Leighton McCarthy could make that list.