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2021 Maxwell Award Watch List: Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler top names to watch

The 2021 college football season is rapidly approaching, and award watch list season is at a fever pitch as the Maxwell Award has announced their preseason watch list. The Maxwell Award is among the nation’s most prestigious honors, annually given to the nation’s top college football player.

The judging panel is comprised of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA head coaches, sportscasters, and sportswriters. The Maxwell Football Club aims to recognize talented players at the earliest stage of their careers. First presented in 1937, the Maxwell Award will be given to its 83rd different recipient as there have been two two-time winners in its history (Johnny Lattner, 1952, 1953; Tim Tebow, 2007, 2008).

The Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List details college football players with a proven track record of success on the field. It also serves as a much larger list than any other preseason watch list of its magnitude, giving readers a bevy of talented players from across the country to check out in 2021.

So just who are those Maxwell Award watch list members to get your eyes on?

2021 Preseason Maxwell Award Watch List

  • Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
  • John Metchie, WR, Alabama
  • Camerun Peoples, RB, Appalachian State
  • Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State
  • Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
  • Layne Hatcher, QB, Arkansas State
  • Bo Nix, QB, Auburn
  • Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
  • Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
  • Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College
  • Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
  • Kevin Marks, RB, Buffalo
  • Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
  • Chris Reynolds, QB, Charlotte
  • Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  • D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson
  • Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
  • Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
  • Mataeo Durant, RB, Duke
  • Preston Hutchinson, QB, Eastern Michigan
  • McKenzie Milton, QB, Florida State
  • Ronnie Rivers, RB, Fresno State
  • J.T. Daniels, QB, Georgia
  • Michael Penix, QB, Indiana
  • Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
  • Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa
  • Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
  • Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
  • Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State
  • Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
  • Dustin Crum, QB, Kent State
  • Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
  • Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
  • Levi Lewis, QB, Louisiana
  • Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
  • Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
  • Grant Wells, QB, Marshall
  • Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland
  • Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
  • D’Eriq King, QB, Miami (Fl.)
  • Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota
  • Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
  • Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State
  • Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska
  • Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
  • Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
  • Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
  • Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
  • Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
  • Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
  • Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
  • Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
  • Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
  • Jerrion Ealy, RB, Ole Miss
  • Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
  • Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
  • David Bell, WR, Purdue
  • Greg Bell, RB, San Diego State
  • Ulysses Bentley, RB, SMU
  • Reggie Roberson, WR, SMU
  • Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
  • Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
  • Frank Gore Jr., RB, Southern Miss
  • Austin Jones, RB, Stanford
  • Max Duggan, QB, TCU
  • Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
  • Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
  • Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
  • Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF
  • Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
  • Kedon Slovis, QB, USC
  • Charlie Brewer, QB, Utah
  • Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA
  • Brennan Armstrong, QB, Virginia
  • Jaquarii Roberson, WR, Wake Forest
  • Jarret Doege, QB, West Virginia
  • Leddie Brown, RB, West Virginia
  • Kaleb Eleby, QB, Western Michigan
  • Xazavian Valladay, RB, Wyoming

Who is the Maxwell Award named after?

The Maxwell Award is named after Robert ‘Tiny’ Maxwell, a former college football player at Swarthmore College. Additionally, he was a coach and sportswriter. Maxwell played collegiately at the University of Chicago in 1902-1903, playing along the offensive line due to his massive size (240 pounds) at a time that offensive linemen weighed under 200 pounds.

He transferred to Swarthmore College in 1904, helping lead the team to a combined 13-4 record, including a 7-1 record in 1905. Maxwell himself is what legends are made of, not just on the field but off of it as well.

The famed 1905 game between Swarthmore and Penn made political headlines after a bloodied face photograph of Maxwell made its way to President Theodore Roosevelt. So enraged by a picture of Maxwell with a face so bloodied and swollen he couldn’t open his eyes, Roosevelt threatened to abolish football if colleges didn’t work to make player safety a higher priority.

Maxwell played professionally for the Canton Bulldogs, Massillon Tigers, and Pittsburgh Lyceum. He had stints as a coach at his alma mater Swarthmore and Penn before becoming a referee and reporter.

The Maxwell Football Club was established in 1935 by Bert Bell, 13 years after Maxwell’s untimely death. The award itself has been given out annually since 1937.

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Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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