411OnTheForty: Four more Longhorns named to preseason award watch lists

21 Jul By

AUSTIN, Texas — Nearly a week after five Longhorn football players were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, four also were named to preseason award watch lists Tuesday.

Safety Caden Sterns, JACK Joseph Ossai and offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, who were among the UT players who earned all-conference honors last week, added to their list of preseason accolades heading into the 2020 season.

Both were named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's top defensive player. Ossai also was named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's premier linebackerthe only UT player to win the award was linebacker Derrick Johnson, who won both the Nagurski and the Butkus in 2004.

Cosmi was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's top interior lineman, and standout punter Ryan Bujcevski was named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list on Wednesday morning.

Texas JACK Joseph Ossai added to his preseason honors when he earned a spot on the watch lists for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's top defensive player, and the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's premier linebacker each season (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

Ossai and Sterns have carried the defense over the past few seasons, with Ossai leading the team in tackles (90), tackles for loss (13.5) and Sterns third in total tackles (58) last season.

One of the best safeties in the Big 12 and the nation, Sterns was named a preseason candidate for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented each season to the nation's top defensive back. Named for the famed olympian, college football star and pro baseball player, the award has been won by two Longhorns: Michael Huff in 2005 and Aaron Ross in 2006, respectively. Five Longhorns have been finalists for the award.

Texas safety Caden Sterns is one of 49 players named to the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the nation's premier defensive back (photo by Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated).

A junior, Sterns has played in 22 career games, starting 21 of those. He burst on to the scene as a true freshman, becoming the first Texas player since 2008 to start the first 13 games of his collegiate career. His 58 tackles in 2019 ranked third among all Longhorns, despite the fact that he missed four of the team's 13 games.

In addition to leading the team in tackles, sacks (5) and tackles for loss, Ossai nabbed two interceptions and registered one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.

In addition to being named to both the Nagurski Trophy and Butkus Award watch lists, Ossai is also on the LOTT Impact Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award watch lists.

With former team captain and center Zach Shackelford gone to the NFL, Cosmi is one of the most experienced players on the Longhorn offense. Three different Longhorns have earned the honor: Scott Appleton (1963), Tommy Nobis (1965) and Brad Shearer (1977), while four others have been named finalists. The last to be named a finalist was current New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Malcolm Brown.

Cosmi
Sam Cosmi (52) is one of 85 offensive linemen named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's premier offensive lineman (photo by Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated).

The Ray Guy award, named for the former Southern Miss punter who became the first at his position to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft and the first punter inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is awarded each season to the NCAA's top punter. Bujcevski is the cousin of former Texas punter Michael Dickson, who in 2017 became the first Longhorn to earn the honor since the award was introduced in 2000.

Bujcevski has followed in his cousin's footsteps, ranking sixth in the Big 12 last season in yards-per-punt average with 41.7, an increase from his average of 40. 3 the year before.

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Riley Zayas is a high school freshman and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website.