USC football’s JT Daniels named to Maxwell Award watch list

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

USC football quarterback JT Daniels was named to the Maxwell Award watch list  on Monday as a candidate to be named the Player of the Year in 2019.

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It’s that time of year, when watch lists herald the ever nearing start to the college football season. On Monday, the Maxwell Award released their watch list for 2019, with USC football represented by quarterback JT Daniels.

Daniels is still in the middle of a quarterback battle to keep his starting place from 2018. That of course is not reason for the Maxwell to put him on their watch list. He is, after all, the favorite to win the job once more and USC’s starting quarterback just about always makes the preseason watch list for an award seeking college football’s Player of the Year.

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When it comes to performance, Daniels will have to far outdo his freshman showing if he wants to be a serious candidate for the award. Last year he threw for 2,672 yards in 11 games of action, ranking third in the Pac-12 with 242.9 yards per game. However, he tossed 10 interceptions to go along with 14 touchdowns and ranked ninth in quarterback rating out of 11 qualifying quarterbacks in the conference.

Hopes of improvement are high at least. The Trojans have brought in new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and the Air Raid in a bid to get USC’s offense rolling more effectively. The transition to a new scheme could greatly benefit Daniels, who was clearly asked to do too much in 2018.

The Maxwell watch list also includes many familiar faces who will challenge the Trojan defense this year.

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In fact, the number of teams who won’t boast a Maxwell watch lister against USC is minuscule. Fresno State and Cal are the only teams on the schedule without a name represented.

Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello will be up first in Week 2, followed by BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, Utah running back Zach Moss and Washington quarterback Jacob Eason.

A bye week will give USC time to prepare for Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book, followed by Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and running back J.J. Taylor.

Colorado also features two Maxwell watch listers in quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Laviska Shenault.

Then the Trojans will see Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin before finishing out the regular season against UCLA running back Joshua Kelley.

Three USC players have taken home the Maxwell Award going back to its birth in 1937. Those include a Heisman-winning trio of O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen.