Preseason prognosticators appear just as excited about USC’s prospects on offense in 2014 as fans. Monday the National College Football Awards Association included three Trojans on the watch list for the Maxwell Award. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor, running back Javorius Allen, and quarterback Cody Kessler each made the list.
Agholor’s inclusion should come as no surprise. Heralded as USC’s next great receiver following the trails blazed by Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, Agholor led the Trojans in receiving and touchdown catches in 2014.
Allen played his way into contention for 2014 awards with a strong tail-end to 2013. Though he hardly contributed in the first half of the season, he tallied 12 touchdowns in the final six games to bring his total to 14 on the year, which was tied for fourth in the Pac-12.
To maintain his place as a real contender for an award like the Maxwell, however, Allen will need to put together a full season with similarly standout performances. With talented teammates like Tre Madden and Justin Davis battling for carries, he’ll also contend with issues of playing time.
Kessler joins seven other Pac-12 quarterbacks on the list after a steadily improved 2013 season. Though his shaky performances to start the year would earn him no accolades, his strong finish with 344 yards and four touchdowns in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl — and an MVP trophy to go along with it — set up some momentum for the Trojan quarterback going into 2014.
The Pac-12 boasted 16 players on the list of 76. UCLA’s Brett Hundley was the lone representative from the Bruins, but Oregon matched the Trojans with three players named — quarterback Marcus Mariota and running backs Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner.
Notre Dame’s Everett Golson also made the list.