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UB football's Anthony Johnson and Khalil Hodge named to prestigious preseason watch lists


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A pair of University at Buffalo football players have found themselves on watch lists for two of the most prestigious awards in college football. Anthony Johnson has been named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which recognizes the nation's top college football player. Khalil Hodge has been named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive player.

Johnson is just second player in school history to be named to the Maxwell Award watch list, joining former All-MAC running back Branden Oliver. Johnson is coming off a breakout season with the Bulls. In 2017, he had 76 catches for 1,356 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns. He ranked second in the nation in receiving yards per game (113.0) and third in receiving touchdowns (14). The All-MAC First Team selection had six games of 140 or more receiving yards which was tops in the country.

Johnson is one of four players from the MAC on the 84-man list. He joins James Gilbert (Ball State), James Gardner (Miami) and Nathan Rourke (Ohio).

Hodge, has been named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list for the first time in his career. A two-time All-MAC selection, Hodge totaled more tackles (277) than any other player in the nation over the last two seasons. In 2017, he racked up a MAC-best 154 stops, the most ever by a UB player in its FBS era. He ranked second in the nation in tackles in 2017.

Hodge is one of only four Mid-American Conference players on the list, joining Ulysees Gilbert (Akron), Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) and Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois).

Johnson, Hodge and the rest of their teammates will kickoff the 2018 campaign vs. Delaware State on Sept. 1.

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