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:
|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|
|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|
|Sammie Coates||Auburn||Wide Receiver||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|
|D.J. Foster||Arizona State||Running Back||Junior|
|Devin Funchess||Michigan||Wide Receiver||Junior|
|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|
|Matt Johnson||Bowling Green||Quarterback||Junior|
|Duke Johnson||Miami||Running Back||Junior|
|Chuckie Keeton||Utah State||Quarterback||Senior|
|Taylor Kelly||Arizona State||Quarterback||Senior|
|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|
|Venric Mark||Northwestern||Running Back||Senior|
|Byron Marshall||Oregon||Running Back||Junior|
|Braxton Miller||Ohio State||Quarterback||Senior|
|Ty Montgomery||Stanford||Wide Receiver||Senior|
|DeVante Parker||Louisville||Wide Receiver||Senior|
|Dak Prescott||Mississippi State||Quarterback||Sophomore|
|Jaelen Strong||Arizona State||Wide Receiver||Junior|
|Thomas Tyner||Oregon||Running Back||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.
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?
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.