College Football

Maxwell Award Watch List 2014: Full List and Bleacher Report Favorites

USA Today
Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterJuly 7, 2014

The start of the 2014 college football season is still nearly two months away, but the preseason watch list releases are in midseason form. 

On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club released its annual watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year. Last year's winner was Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, meaning there's going to be a new winner this December. 

But the watch list itself is packed with familiar names, including Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, a finalist for last year's Maxwell Award. Can Winston add another trophy to his already impressive resume? Here is a list of the 75 other players he's up against:

2014 Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List
NameSchoolPositionClass
Ameer AbdullahNebraskaRunning BackSenior
Nelson AgholorUSCWide ReceiverJunior
Jay AjayiBoise StateRunning BackJunior
Javorius AllenUSCRunning BackJunior
Dres AndersonUtahWide ReceiverSenior
Anthony BooneDukeQuarterbackSenior
Tyler BoydPittWide ReceiverSophomore
Jacoby BrissettNorth Carolina StateQuarterbackJunior
Malcolm BrownTexasRunning BackSenior
Shane CardenEast CarolinaQuarterbackSenior
Rakeem CatoMarshallQuarterbackSenior
Sammie CoatesAuburnWide ReceiverJunior
Jacob CokerAlabamaQuarterbackJunior
Stacy ColeyMiamiWide ReceiverSophomore
Alex CollinsArkansasRunning BackSophomore
James ConnerPittRunning BackSophomore
Connor CookMichigan StateQuarterbackJunior
Amari CooperAlabamaWide ReceiverJunior
Jamison CrowderDukeWide ReceiverSenior
Mike DavisSouth CarolinaRunning BackJunior
DeVante DavisUNLVWide ReceiverSenior
Stefon DiggsMarylandWide ReceiverJunior
Jeff DriskelFloridaQuarterbackJunior
Cody FajardoNevadaQuarterbackSenior
D.J. FosterArizona StateRunning BackJunior
Devin FunchessMichiganWide ReceiverJunior
Devin GardnerMichiganQuarterbackSenior
Jared GoffCalQuarterbackSophomore
Everett GolsonNotre DameQuarterbackJunior
Antwan GoodleyBaylorWide ReceiverSenior
Melvin GordonWisconsinRunning BackJunior
Johnathan GrayTexasRunning BackJunior
Deontay GreenberryHoustonWide ReceiverJunior
Rashad GreeneFlorida StateWide ReceiverSenior
Todd GurleyGeorgiaRunning BackJunior
Christian HackenbergPenn StateQuarterbackSophomore
Justin HardyEast CarolinaWide ReceiverSenior
Taylor HeinickeOld DominionQuarterbackSenior
Derrick HenryAlabamaRunning BackSophomore
Austin HilArizonaWide ReceiverSenior
Taysom HillBYUQuarterbackJunior
Kevin HoganStanfordQuarterbackJunior
Brett HundleyUCLAQuarterbackJunior
Matt JohnsonBowling GreenQuarterbackJunior
Duke JohnsonMiamiRunning BackJunior
Chuckie KeetonUtah StateQuarterbackSenior
Taylor KellyArizona StateQuarterbackSenior
Cody KesslerUSCQuarterbackJunior
Trevor KnightOklahomaQuarterbackSophomore
Jeremy LangfordMichigan StateRunning BackSenior
Shock LinwoodBaylorRunning BackSophomore
Tyler LockettKansas StateWide ReceiverSenior
Sean MannionOregon StateQuarterbackSenior
Raymond MaplesArmyRunning BackSenior
Marcus MariotaOregonQuarterbackJunior
Venric MarkNorthwesternRunning BackSenior
Byron MarshallOregonRunning BackJunior
Nick MarshallAuburnQuarterbackSenior
Braxton MillerOhio StateQuarterbackSenior
Ty MontgomeryStanfordWide ReceiverSenior
John O'KornHoustonQuarterbackSophomore
DeVante ParkerLouisvilleWide ReceiverSenior
Bryce PettyBaylorQuarterbackSenior
Dak PrescottMississippi StateQuarterbackSophomore
Keenan ReynoldsNavyQuarterbackJunior
Jaelen StrongArizona StateWide ReceiverJunior
Thomas TynerOregonRunning BackSophomore
P.J. WalkerTempleQuarterbackSophomore
Dr. Bo WallaceOle MissQuarterbackSenior
Jake WatersKansas StateQuarterbackSenior
Davis WebbTexas TechQuarterbackSophomore
Jonathan WilliamsArkansasRunning BackSophomore
Karlos WilliamsFlorida StateRunning BackSenior
Jamaal WilliamsBYURunning BackJunior
Jameis WinstonFlorida StateQuarterbackSophomore
T.J. YeldonAlabamaRunning BackJunior
Maxwell Football Club

Who are some of the early favorites from this year's watch list? A short list follows. Keep in mind that these names are subject to change at any time based on performance or other factors so as to let us completely off the hook. 

 

Jameis Winston: How can he not be? The reigning Heisman winner will be under an intense microscope, but he's more than talented enough to repeat last year's success. Winston also has what should be another excellent supporting cast around him. If he puts up numbers that are anything like last year's, Winston will likely be a finalist in 2014. 

Braxton Miller: Miller is one of the most gifted runners in college football at any position. He has a rocket for an arm too, so he's a dangerous dual-threat quarterback. In college, that's tough to stop, and there's little reason to believe Miller won't light it up on the field again—except for injuries. Miller was banged-up last year with knee and shoulder injuries. If he can stay healthy—and that's an if behind the Buckeyes' new-look offensive line—he has a great shot. 

May 3, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball in the first half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Mariota: It might be too early to tell, but Mariota is being tabbed by some, including B/R's Matt Miller, as the best quarterback in next year's class—not Winston. Mariota can put up video game numbers in Oregon's offense, though the Ducks have questions at wide receiver. Will that put more pressure on Mariota in the running game? It will be interesting to see how his role adapts this season. 

Todd Gurley: There are plenty of running backs on the watch list, but few feature backs like Gurley. On the contrary, it can be hard for a running back to win the Maxwell, since running backs can be complementary role players. The last running back to win the Maxwell was Larry Johnson from Penn State in 2002. But Gurley is the whole package: powerful and fast with great vision and pass-catching skills. If he can stay healthy, he can have a monster year. 

Bryce Petty: Baylor has done as good a job as any program over the last several years of recruiting and developing quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III, Nick Florence and now Bryce Petty have put up ridiculous numbers in the Bears' high-powered offense. Petty recently received rave reviews at the Elite 11 camp for being a workout warrior, via ESPN's Travis Haney. If the Bears can reload on offense, Petty will be in the discussion for major awards by year's end. 

Nick Marshall: The former Georgia defensive back is a perfect fit in head coach Gus Malzahn's offense at Auburn. He showed as much last year, with nearly 3,000 yards of total offense and 23 total touchdowns. The SEC loses a handful of its best quarterbacks from a year ago, meaning Marshall is the main attraction among the conference's signal-callers this year. Another big year running and passing, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Marshall as a Maxwell finalist. 

 

Honorable Mentions: Melvin Gordon, Tyler Lockett, Chuckie Keeton, Amari Cooper. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. 

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