Bernard earned first-team All-ACC honors as a redshirt freshman in 2011, rushing for a UNC freshman record 1,253 yards. He became the first Tar Heel to run for more than 1,000 yards since 1997. He also earned the Piccolo Award as the ACC's Most Courageous Player after battling back from an ACL injury.
Renner completed 239 of 350 attempts for 3,086 yards and a single-season school record 26 touchdowns in 2011, his first season as UNC's starter.
Semifinalists will be announced October 29, and the three finalists will be unveiled November 19. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on December 6. The formal presentation will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 1, 2013.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, evaluating past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2012 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.
The award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.