The National College Football Awards Association announced it’s 2014 Maxwell Award watch list Monday and at least one deserving USC Trojan was left out.
Redshirt junior running back Tre Madden did not join fellow running back Javorius Allen, wide out Nelson Agholor and quarterback Cody Kessler on the watch list for the potential 2014 player of the year, though his resume and potential could easily have justified his place.
Madden’s 703 rushing and 201 receiving yards were second behind Allen in 2013 among Trojan running backs. Though he trailed Allen in touchdowns by a significant margin, his four touchdowns in 15 receptions are as impressive a number on paper as they were in execution on the field.
Unfortunately for Madden, timing was not in his favor.
Undoubtedly the number one back for USC in the first half of the season, Madden averaged 100+ yards in four of the first five games he started. In fact, his feat of starting the season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games put him in elite company as the first Trojan to do so since Marcus Allen in 1981.
With a punishing running style that successfully melded speed with power, Madden looked poised to settle himself as the main man at USC. However, he went out injured in the sixth game of the season against Arizona, but not before scoring a 63-yard receiving touchdown.
From then, Madden’s season was characterized by missed games and limited play. He sat out three games completely and had double digit carries in just one game. Despite missing so much time, CollegeFootballNews.com recognized Madden as a sophomore All-American honorable mention.
While Allen was making a name for himself at the close of 2013, Madden’s impressive start to the season was forgotten.
That short-term memory has continued through the preseason with voters rightfully recognizing Allen’s potential while mistakenly overlooking Madden’s.
In Steve Sarkisian’s spring game depth chart, Allen and Madden shared the starting job and there is every indication that a running back rotation will be favored over a featured-back system.
The absence of a featured back may ensure that neither running back picks up the honors they might have otherwise claimed with all the carries to themselves, it may also serve to prove that the latter was just as deserving of preseason hype as the former.