The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

July 8, 2014

Cato among 3 Marshall players on watch lists

WVU safety Joseph is also recognized

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, defensive lineman James Rouse and running back Steward Butler were named to college football award watch lists Monday.

Cato was selected to the Maxwell Award list, while Rouse was named a candidate for the Bednarik Award and Butler was picked as a nominee for the College Football Performance Awards Running Back Trophy.

Cato, a Heisman Trophy candidate for the Thundering Herd, is on numerous preseason All-Conference USA lists and has been named the league’s top player by numerous magazines and websites. The Miami native has thrown a touchdown pass in 32 consecutive games, best among active FBS quarterback. The FBS record is 38 by Russell Wilson, who played at N.C. State from 2009-11 and then the 2011 season at Wisconsin.

Rouse, from Harrisonburg, Va., will begin his sixth year as a member of the program in August. He was voted Marshall’s 2013 MVP by teammates after helping the Herd to a 10-4 finish and Military Bowl victory over Maryland. Rouse, who has also been named to numerous preseason all-league lists, was a key player on a defense that made the biggest one-season improvement in FBS scoring defense (20.2-point improvement) since 1998.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including as a player, a sports writer and an official.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 1969 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 1967.

Butler, a Lakeland, Fla., native, was second on the team with 765 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season, including an 8.8 yards-per-carry average that ranked third nationally. He has been a preseason All-Conference USA pick by Lindy’s Sports, Phil Steele’s 2014 Preview and The Sporting News, which also named him as the league’s best elusive running back.

The CFPA is in its seventh season of player and team performance recognition, broken down by offense, defense and special teams.

Marshall will open the 2014 season Aug. 30 at Miami (Ohio). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be carried on ESPN3.com.

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West Virginia University football junior safety Karl Joseph joined Rouse on the Bednarik Watch List.

“Karl has played a lot of football for West Virginia and has made a lot of plays the last two years,” says WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “He will be counted on as one of our team leaders this year as we want to take another step forward in our third year in the Big 12 Conference.”

Joseph finished with 68 tackles as a sophomore in 2013, as well as having two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, four pass breakups, an interception and three tackles for loss. He also ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 2 nationally in fumbles recovered. He finished with five or more tackles in seven games and five or more solo tackles in six games.

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