Three Ball State upperclassmen received recognition this past week by being named to postseason award watch lists.
Senior QB Keith Wenning was nominated for the Maxwell Award, Sr. TE Zane Fakes for the Mackey Award Watch List and Sr. WR Jamill Smith for the Hornung Award Watch List.
Wenning was named to the All-MAC Second Team in 2012 and was a two-time MAC Player of the Week. He enters his senior season second in career passing yards (7,254) and first in career pass attempts (1,144) at Ball State. He started 33 straight games before missing the 2012 regular season finale with an injury, but returned to start the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. A 2013 team captain, Wenning received Ball State's John Magnabosco Most Valuable Offensive Player Award as a junior. Also a team captain as a junior, Wenning's name has shattered many of the school's single season marks. Wenning ranked 31st in the nation last season with 257.9 passing yards per game. He completed 301-of-460 passes for 3,095 yards in 2012 with 24 TD passes. Wenning set the school record for pass completions in a single season and career last season. Wenning has passed for 7,254 career yards and is only the second player in Ball State history to surpass the 7,000-yard passing plateau.
Fakes, who was named to the 2012 All-Mid-American Conference First Team and the Academic All-MAC Team, started 10 games and played in all 13 for the Cardinals last season. He tallied five touchdown catches a year ago, and has seven in his career. Fakes managed a career high 11 catches for a career best 98 receiving yards vs. Northern Illinois last season. He managed two touchdown catches in a game vs. Indiana last season and repeated the accomplishment vs. Ohio.
Smith, one of 44 players in the country named to the Hornung Preseason Watch List, was named to the 2012 All-Mid-American Conference First Team as a wide receiver plus was named to the third team as a punt return and kick return specialist. He played in 12 games with 11 starts last fall for the Cardinals. Smith managed 69 catches for 706 yards with six touchdowns last season. He tallied a season best 240 all-purpose yards vs. Eastern Michigan (119 receiving, 100 kickoff returns, 21 punt returns) and 221 all-purpose yards at Indiana (63 receiving, 49 rushing, 109 return). In addition, Smith completed 2-of-2 passes, including a 12-yard touchdown play to quarterback Keith Wenning. Smith tied for 29th in the nation last season with 135.15 all-purpose yards per contest and was 26th in the nation in kickoff returns with a 25.58 average.