Widely considered the favorite for the Heisman Trophy, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota might be able to add a different award after the season concludes.
The Maxwell Award, given out to the Collegiate Player of the Year, named its 16 semifinalists on the year. One freshman (Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston), four sophomores, seven juniors and four seniors make up the 16 players. Two of the players are wide receivers, four are running backs and 10 are quarterbacks. The award has been in existence for 76 years.
No Oregon player has ever won the award before but if Mariota is able to bring home the hardware, he will be the eighth Pac-12 player to do so and the first since Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in 2011.
On the year, Mariota has thrown for 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns with zero interceptions while rushing for 511 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s completing 64 percent of his passes and leads all quarterbacks in Total QBR with a 95.5 rating.
The sophomore from Honolulu will have plenty of chances the rest of the year to stake his claim to the award with matchups against No. 5 Stanford, Utah (the only team to beat Stanford this year), previously ranked Oregon State and possibly with No. 20 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship game.
Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has also been named as a semifinalist for an award watch list: the Check Bednarik Award.
This award is in its 19th year and is given to the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. The Maxwell Football Club National Selection Committee just named the 16 semifinalists for the award with the three finalists expected to be named November 25, same as the Maxwell Award, with the winner being announced Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
One sophomore (USC’s Leonard Williams), three juniors and 12 seniors make up the semifinalists. Two players are defensive tackles, three are cornerbacks, four are defensive ends and seven are linebackers.
Linebacker Rey Maualuga from USC is the only Pac-12 player to win the award, doing so in 2008.
Wisconsin, Clemson, Oregon, Alabama and Florida State are the only teams with a player on both lists.
Notably missing from both lists is Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end from South Carolina. Entering this current football season, Clowney was widely considered to be the No. 1 NFL Draft prospect and a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Chuck Bednarik Award. However, he has not played well this season, causing his stock to drop in all three awards races.
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