But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an Alabama surprise when the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia revealed its watch list in peparation for its 78th annual award. In fact, there was one mild surprise and one eyebrow-raiser.
The surprises were not the inclusions of junior tailback T.J. Yeldon and junior wide receiver Amari Cooper. It was a bit of a surprise that sophomore tailback Derrick Henry was on the list. But the big surprise was the presence of junior quarterback Jacob Coker, who has recently transferred to Bama from Florida State, where he was the backup to 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including as a player, a sportswriter, and an official.
Last year Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron became the first Crimson Tide player to win the Maxwell Award. Among those he finished ahead of was Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best player. The Maxwell Award purports to consider character issues as well as athletics success.
The watch list incorporates a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences. Returning Maxwell Award semifinalists from 2013 include Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, Oregon State QB Sean Mannion, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Baylor QB Bryce Petty and returning Maxwell Award finalist Winston. The Seminoles have placed three players on the list, as running back Karlos Williams and wide receiver Rashad Greene join Winston. Three athletes also represent Baylor, Oregon, and USC, but Alabama leads the pack with four.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced November 3, and the three finalists will be unveiled November 24. The winner will be announced as part of the College Football Awards Show held on December 11. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City on March 6, 2015.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club’s selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2014 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, FBS head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.
It is not a surprise that Alabama had more players than any other school on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is presented to the nation’s outstanding player. After all, the Crimson Tide is the nation’s dominant team. It also is not a surprise that all of the Bama players on the watch list are underclassmen, because so many good Tide players stay only three years before going to the NFL.