The 2021 college football season is rapidly approaching, and award watch list season is at a fever pitch as the Maxwell Award has announced their preseason watch list. The Maxwell Award is among the nation’s most prestigious honors, annually given to the nation’s top college football player.
The judging panel is comprised of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA head coaches, sportscasters, and sportswriters. The Maxwell Football Club aims to recognize talented players at the earliest stage of their careers. First presented in 1937, the Maxwell Award will be given to its 83rd different recipient as there have been two two-time winners in its history (Johnny Lattner, 1952, 1953; Tim Tebow, 2007, 2008).
The Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List details college football players with a proven track record of success on the field. It also serves as a much larger list than any other preseason watch list of its magnitude, giving readers a bevy of talented players from across the country to check out in 2021.
So just who are those Maxwell Award watch list members to get your eyes on?
2021 Preseason Maxwell Award Watch List
Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
John Metchie, WR, Alabama
Camerun Peoples, RB, Appalachian State
Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Layne Hatcher, QB, Arkansas State
Bo Nix, QB, Auburn
Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Kevin Marks, RB, Buffalo
Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
Chris Reynolds, QB, Charlotte
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson
Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
Mataeo Durant, RB, Duke
Preston Hutchinson, QB, Eastern Michigan
McKenzie Milton, QB, Florida State
Ronnie Rivers, RB, Fresno State
J.T. Daniels, QB, Georgia
Michael Penix, QB, Indiana
Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State
Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
Dustin Crum, QB, Kent State
Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Levi Lewis, QB, Louisiana
Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Grant Wells, QB, Marshall
Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland
Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami (Fl.)
Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota
Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State
Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Jerrion Ealy, RB, Ole Miss
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
David Bell, WR, Purdue
Greg Bell, RB, San Diego State
Ulysses Bentley, RB, SMU
Reggie Roberson, WR, SMU
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
Frank Gore Jr., RB, Southern Miss
Austin Jones, RB, Stanford
Max Duggan, QB, TCU
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
Kedon Slovis, QB, USC
Charlie Brewer, QB, Utah
Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA
Brennan Armstrong, QB, Virginia
Jaquarii Roberson, WR, Wake Forest
Jarret Doege, QB, West Virginia
Leddie Brown, RB, West Virginia
Kaleb Eleby, QB, Western Michigan
Xazavian Valladay, RB, Wyoming
Who is the Maxwell Award named after?
The Maxwell Award is named after Robert ‘Tiny’ Maxwell, a former college football player at Swarthmore College. Additionally, he was a coach and sportswriter. Maxwell played collegiately at the University of Chicago in 1902-1903, playing along the offensive line due to his massive size (240 pounds) at a time that offensive linemen weighed under 200 pounds.
He transferred to Swarthmore College in 1904, helping lead the team to a combined 13-4 record, including a 7-1 record in 1905. Maxwell himself is what legends are made of, not just on the field but off of it as well.
The famed 1905 game between Swarthmore and Penn made political headlines after a bloodied face photograph of Maxwell made its way to President Theodore Roosevelt. So enraged by a picture of Maxwell with a face so bloodied and swollen he couldn’t open his eyes, Roosevelt threatened to abolish football if colleges didn’t work to make player safety a higher priority.
Maxwell played professionally for the Canton Bulldogs, Massillon Tigers, and Pittsburgh Lyceum. He had stints as a coach at his alma mater Swarthmore and Penn before becoming a referee and reporter.
The Maxwell Football Club was established in 1935 by Bert Bell, 13 years after Maxwell’s untimely death. The award itself has been given out annually since 1937.
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