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

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

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
Name School Position Class
Ameer Abdullah Nebraska Running Back Senior
Nelson Agholor USC Wide Receiver Junior
Jay Ajayi Boise State Running Back Junior
Javorius Allen USC Running Back Junior
Dres Anderson Utah Wide Receiver Senior
Anthony Boone Duke Quarterback Senior
Tyler Boyd Pitt Wide Receiver Sophomore
Jacoby Brissett North Carolina State Quarterback Junior
Malcolm Brown Texas Running Back Senior
Shane Carden East Carolina Quarterback Senior
Rakeem Cato Marshall Quarterback Senior
Sammie Coates Auburn Wide Receiver Junior
Jacob Coker Alabama Quarterback Junior
Stacy Coley Miami Wide Receiver Sophomore
Alex Collins Arkansas Running Back Sophomore
James Conner Pitt Running Back Sophomore
Connor Cook Michigan State Quarterback Junior
Amari Cooper Alabama Wide Receiver Junior
Jamison Crowder Duke Wide Receiver Senior
Mike Davis South Carolina Running Back Junior
DeVante Davis UNLV Wide Receiver Senior
Stefon Diggs Maryland Wide Receiver Junior
Jeff Driskel Florida Quarterback Junior
Cody Fajardo Nevada Quarterback Senior
D.J. Foster Arizona State Running Back Junior
Devin Funchess Michigan Wide Receiver Junior
Devin Gardner Michigan Quarterback Senior
Jared Goff Cal Quarterback Sophomore
Everett Golson Notre Dame Quarterback Junior
Antwan Goodley Baylor Wide Receiver Senior
Melvin Gordon Wisconsin Running Back Junior
Johnathan Gray Texas Running Back Junior
Deontay Greenberry Houston Wide Receiver Junior
Rashad Greene Florida State Wide Receiver Senior
Todd Gurley Georgia Running Back Junior
Christian Hackenberg Penn State Quarterback Sophomore
Justin Hardy East Carolina Wide Receiver Senior
Taylor Heinicke Old Dominion Quarterback Senior
Derrick Henry Alabama Running Back Sophomore
Austin Hil Arizona Wide Receiver Senior
Taysom Hill BYU Quarterback Junior
Kevin Hogan Stanford Quarterback Junior
Brett Hundley UCLA Quarterback Junior
Matt Johnson Bowling Green Quarterback Junior
Duke Johnson Miami Running Back Junior
Chuckie Keeton Utah State Quarterback Senior
Taylor Kelly Arizona State Quarterback Senior
Cody Kessler USC Quarterback Junior
Trevor Knight Oklahoma Quarterback Sophomore
Jeremy Langford Michigan State Running Back Senior
Shock Linwood Baylor Running Back Sophomore
Tyler Lockett Kansas State Wide Receiver Senior
Sean Mannion Oregon State Quarterback Senior
Raymond Maples Army Running Back Senior
Marcus Mariota Oregon Quarterback Junior
Venric Mark Northwestern Running Back Senior
Byron Marshall Oregon Running Back Junior
Nick Marshall Auburn Quarterback Senior
Braxton Miller Ohio State Quarterback Senior
Ty Montgomery Stanford Wide Receiver Senior
John O'Korn Houston Quarterback Sophomore
DeVante Parker Louisville Wide Receiver Senior
Bryce Petty Baylor Quarterback Senior
Dak Prescott Mississippi State Quarterback Sophomore
Keenan Reynolds Navy Quarterback Junior
Jaelen Strong Arizona State Wide Receiver Junior
Thomas Tyner Oregon Running Back Sophomore
P.J. Walker Temple Quarterback Sophomore
Dr. Bo Wallace Ole Miss Quarterback Senior
Jake Waters Kansas State Quarterback Senior
Davis Webb Texas Tech Quarterback Sophomore
Jonathan Williams Arkansas Running Back Sophomore
Karlos Williams Florida State Running Back Senior
Jamaal Williams BYU Running Back Junior
Jameis Winston Florida State Quarterback Sophomore
T.J. Yeldon Alabama Running Back Junior

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. 

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. 

Who will win the Maxwell Award?

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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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