Razorbacks: Linemen earn preseason honors

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<p>photo by MARK BUFFALO</p><p>Arkansas Razorback defensive end Chris Smith pressures Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell in the first half on Nov. 17, 2012, at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. Smith, along with center Travis Swanson, earned more preseason honors this week.</p>

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas boasted a variety of skill position stars in 2012, placing veterans like quarterback Tyler Wilson, receiver Cobi Hamilton, running back Knile Davis and tight end Chris Gragg on watch lists for preseason awards.

This summer is proving Arkansas’ best players line up in the trenches.

Center Travis Swanson and defensive end Chris Smith earned more preseason honors on Thursday, when the Football Writers Association of America announced watch lists for the Outland and Bronko Nagurski trophies.

Swanson was named to the Outland Trophy watch list, which awards the nation’s top interior lineman. The senior has started every game of his Arkansas career and is regarded as one of the top centers in the nation. He was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list — which honors the nation’s top center — late last month.

Smith was named to the Nagurski Trophy watch list, which is presented to college football’s best defensive player. The senior led Arkansas with 9 ½ sacks last season and has 13 in his career. Smith also was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list — which is presented annually to college football’s defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club — earlier this month.

Both players have been selected to represent Arkansas next week at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala., along with fullback Kiero Small. The three, along with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, will meet with the media on Wednesday.

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