USC football’s Stephen Carr on Maxwell Award Watch List for 2018

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football running back Stephen Carr made his way onto the Maxwell Award Watch List for 2018 on Monday, as one of the top playmakers in college this year.

The hype followed Stephen Carr from high school to USC football and he lived up to it with a promising freshman campaign. Now the hype is following him into his sophomore season with the spotlight warmed up and ready to go.

Carr was named on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award on Monday as a candidate to be named Player of the Year in college football.

Why does Carr deserve to be included among the dozens of players vying for that status? His freshman season laid the groundwork for what could be a special career at USC.

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In 2017, Carr was named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention after rushing for 363 yards on 65 carries, adding 188 yards through the air on 17 receptions. Those numbers certainly won’t blow you away, but his season was hampered by an ankle sprain he suffered against Washington State.

Prior to the injury, Carr gained 309 yards in the first month of the season alone, averaging just under six yards per carry. He exploded for 119 yards against Stanford and his receiving ability out of the backfield was key to USC’s win over Texas.

Though it’s a small sample size, in that first month Carr proved he could be an all-around weapon for the Trojans going forward. He ran with power and breakaway speed. He blocked well and was a valuable receiving target.

If there are questions around Carr’s ability to challenge for the Maxwell, they have to do with his health. He missed Spring Camp after undergoing back surgery.

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USC will see their fair share of Maxwell candidates in 2018. There’s the obvious choices like Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and Stanford’s backfield tandem of Bryce Love and KJ Costello. Others like Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins and wide receiver N’Keal Harry, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez, Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush and Utah running back Zach Moss also made the cut.

Another name on the list, perhaps more unexpected, is UNLV quarterback Armani Rodgers.