It’s officially the college football preseason, as the award watch lists begin their parade through the news outlets today. Up first? The Maxwell Award, which is awarded to the college football player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and running back Silas Redd are among the players named to the list, which includes 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M, as well as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Lee won the 2012 Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver, and was a unanimous All-American selection, in addition to being the Pac-12′s Offensive Player of the Year. After being a Maxwell semifinalist last season as a sophomore, Lee is expected to be among early favorites for both the Maxwell and Heisman.
Redd was named to the Maxwell Award list in 2012 alongside Lee and three other Trojans, including Matt Barkley and Robert Woods. In his first season at USC after transferring from Penn State, Redd led the Trojans in rushing despite splitting carries with Curtis McNeal and dealing with late-season knee injury.
Since the Maxwell was first given out in 1937 as an alternative to the Heisman Trophy, there have been three Trojans that have taken home the hardware: O.J. Simpson in 1968, Charles White in 1979 and Marcus Allen in 1981.
USC is among five schools with a trio of winners, including Penn out of the Ivy League, who became the first school to have three Maxwell winners, doing so in 1950. Another five schools have four or more winners, including Penn State and Notre Dame, who top the list with seven apiece.
For the full watch list, as announced by the Maxwell Football Club this morning, click here.