Near Midpoint, Pac-12 Twosome Tops Dante Hall Award Watch List

By John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports)

As the college football season begins to separate pretenders from contenders, so, too, have the game’s biggest playmakers begun to stake claim to the title of the nation’s best, “X-Factor.”

Among clear contenders for the inaugural Dante Hall Award, which recognizes college football’s most impactful player shorter than 6-feet tall, are Oregon game-breaker Charles Nelson and upstart Washington’s John Ross. The twosome coincidentally faced off last Saturday in what would be a Huskies romp, but each has racked up huge X-Factor performances.

The award will be presented in Houston in December, benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, and honors players who not only contribute offensively, but also can be game-changers on special teams. The award’s namesake was a four-year starter at Texas A&M University, accumulating 3,078-yards from scrimmage and 1,629-yards as a return man. As a professional, Hall was named to the 2000-2010 NFL All-Decade Team, twice earning first-team All-Pro honors, and finishing his career with 14,386-yards and 24 touchdowns.

Thus far, Nelson and Ross have more than lived up to the standard — Nelson ranking as the nation’s leader in combined return yardage, while adding 31 receptions for 285-yards. Ross, meanwhile, already has accounted for nine touchdowns receiving, one rushing and added a 92-yard kickoff return for a TD.

Numerous other X-Factor type players dot the latest watch list, including North Carolina’s T.J. Logan, with five rushing TDs, two receiving and a 95-yard kickoff return for a score. Explosive Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, Houston’s D’Eriq King and Pitt’s Quadree Henderson also have put together explosive seasons already, and are among 36 players on the latest watch list.

Watch List

(10-11-16)

Any FBS player who is listed UNDER 6-feet-tall on official depth charts is eligible. Candidates must participate on offense and any special teams. We invite nominations throughout the season.

Player Ht, Wt School
Desmon White 5-7, 160 TCU
Christian Kirk 5-11, 200 Texas A&M
Charles Nelson 5-8, 170 Oregon
John Ross 5-11, 196 Washington
Tim White 5-11, 185 Arizona State
De’Mornay Pierson-El 5-9, 185 Nebraska
Kade Harrington 5-9, 192 Lamar
Speedy Noil 5-11, 200 Texas A&M
T.J. Logan 5-10, 190 North Carolina
Kermit Whitfield 5-8, 182 Florida State
Dontre Wilson 5-10, 195 Ohio State
Isaiah McKenzie 5-8, 164 Georgia
Tyrell Johnson 5-7, 165 Arizona
Jesus Wilson 5-11, 176 Florida State
Cameron Batson 5-9, 175 Texas Tech
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