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Pitt's Ray Graham And Aaron Donald Named To 2012 Preseason Watch Lists

The national college football award watch lists are being rolled out this week and a pair of Pitt players have already garnered some recognition.

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Running back Ray Graham is up for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation's best player. Graham was actually on pace last year to challenge for the award when he went down in the middle of the season with a knee injury. He had 958 rushing yards when he went down early on in the Panthers' win against UConn. Assuming he stays healthy, there's no reason to think he can't have at least an outside shot at the award.

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On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Aaron Donald is up for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player. Donald will probably have a bit more of an uphill battle in his pursuit of the award. He had 11 sacks last year and offensive lines will surely pay more attention to him, especially on a fairly inexperienced defensive line.

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For more on Pitt football, check out SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.