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USC’s Sam Darnold named to Maxwell Award watch list for 2017

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images /
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USC quarterback Sam Darnold was named to the Maxwell Award watch list for 2017 as a candidate to be named the most outstanding college player of the year.

The preseason honors continue to roll in for USC’s Sam Darnold, who made the cut for the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday.

The Maxwell Award is presented each year to the college player of the year, making Darnold a no-brainer candidate.

The Trojan quarterback was among the hottest players in the country by the end of the 2016 season. He threw for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns in his debut season, leading USC out of a 1-3 hole in September with nine-consecutive wins to end the year. Darnold capped his magical year with a jaw-dropping performance in the 2017 Rose Bowl, tossing five touchdowns with 453 yards as he guided USC to a fourth-quarter comeback victory.

Darnold capped his magical year with a jaw-dropping performance in the 2017 Rose Bowl, tossing five touchdowns with 453 yards as he guided USC to a fourth-quarter comeback victory. As a result, the redshirt sophomore is now considered a favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

SEE ALSO: Sam Darnold, Cameron Smith Named Preseason All-Americans

Though it is no surprise to see Darnold make the Maxwell watch list, one other Trojan stands out because of his absence from the list.

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Running back Ronald Jones II, who was featured on the 2016 watch list, did not make the cut as one of the 33 running backs tapped up. Jones has plenty of competition for national awards at his position this year, but he is still considered by many as one of the top ten rushers returning in 2017.

USC has had three players win the Maxwell Award in program history — O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen. However, Troy has not added another since 1981. This century they came close when Matt Leinart was a finalist in 2004 and then Reggie Bush and Leinart finished as runners up in 2005.

Last year the Trojans saw JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jones on the watch list, but neither progressed to the semifinals.

CHECK OUT: 10 Most-Likely All-Pac-12 Candidates for USC in 2017

The 2017 Maxwell Award will be announced on December 7 at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. Semifinalists and then finalists will be whittled down in October and November.

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