Michigan and Michigan State Football Represented on Maxwell Award List

A year after Michigan State football running back Kenneth Walker III finished among the three Maxwell Award finalists, two Spartans and a Wolverine have been named to the preseason watch list.

The Maxwell Prizeawarded annually to ‘college football’s most outstanding player’ since 1937, its watch list that included MSU Quarterback Payton Thornewide receiver Jayden Reed and Michigan running back Blake Corum.

The long friendship between Thorne and Reed has been well chronicled since their arrival at MSU in 2019, Reed as a rookie All-American transferred from West Michigan and Thorne as a three-star prospect signed to the start that Coach Mark Dantonio pulled away from an engagement. to the Broncos in late 2018. The duo have been playing together since middle school in Illinois, then Metea Valley and Naperville Central high schools.

And they both became real stars last season as they helped the Spartans to an 11-2 record, a New Year’s Peach Bowl Six victory over Pitt and a No. 8 ranking in the latest USA Today coaches poll. / AFCA.

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Thorne set a single-season school record in his first year as a starter with 27 touchdown passes in 2021, finishing third in total offense (3,414 yards), third in passing yards (3,233) and sixth in passing efficiency (148.1 rating).

Thorne, completed 60.3% of his passes (234 for 388) in his second season as a redshirt, and was an honorable mention on the All-Big Ten team by coaches and media.

His favorite target, Reed, was also named to the watch list after forgoing the NFL Draft to return for a senior season.

Reed has had a huge 2021 season and was one of five finalists for the Paul Hornung award – the nation’s most versatile player.

Reed led MSU in receptions (59), receiving yards (1,026) and touchdowns (10), while pacing the Big Ten in punt return yards (19.8) and tied for the nation’s lead. with two kick return touchdowns.

Michigan State's Jayden Reed, left, and quarterback Payton Thorne celebrate Reed's 20-yard touchdown on fourth down against Penn State during the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in East Lansing, Michigan.  The Spartans won, 30-27.

Almost every time Reed touched the ball something positive happened, with 42 of his 59 catches resulting in either a first down or a touchdown as his 18 yards per touch led the Big Ten and tied for seventh. of the FBS.

Brad Van Pelt is the only Spartan to win the Maxwell Award, when he became the first defensive back to receive the honor in 1972. Walker was not named to the 2021 pre-season roster.

Corum, a junior, should have an exceptional season at the head of a one-two punch (after playing Hassan Haskins’ second fiddle a season ago) with a sophomore Donovan Edwards.

Last season, Corum rushed 144 times for 952 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns in 12 games. He caught 24 passes for 141 yards and another scoring, and showed his ability on special teams, returning 12 kickoffs for 304 yards (25.3 yards return) to help Michigan Wins Big Ten Championship, Advances to College Football Playoffs.

Desmond Howard was the last Wolverine to win the award in 1991, when he also lifted the Heisman Trophy.

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Other Big Ten players on the roster

Of the 85 players on the watch list, a dozen were from the Big Ten.

This includes the Ohio State line of quarterback CJ Stroud, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson, Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, Purdue quarterback Sean O’Connell, Northwest running back Evan Hull, and Illinois with Chase Brown.

West, Center, East all represented

Michigan center running back Lew Nichols tries to evade Washington State defensive back Derrick Langford Jr. during the first half of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021.

Each of Michigan’s three Mid-American Conference schools are represented.

For Central Michigan, it was running back Lew Nichols III, who led the FBS in rushing yards (1,848), yards per game (142.2) and total rushes (341) ago. a season. He also finished ninth in rushing touchdowns (16), 11th in total touchdowns (18) and led the nation in all-around yards (2,186).

The Cass Tech alum was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and placed on Phil Steele’s Fourth Team All-America.

In Kalamazoo, with star receiver Skyy Moore now gone to the Kansas City Chiefs, all the attention will be on running back Sean Tyler.

West Michigan running back Sean Tyler (9) celebrates with teammates after kicking off for a touchdown against Nevada in the first half of the Quick Lane Bowl on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at Ford Field .

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Tyler finished 2021 with 178 carries for a career-high 1,150 yards (6.5 ypc) and nine touchdowns, throwing a career-high 14 passes for 114 yards and two more scores for earn second-team All-MAC honors.

Hassan Beydoun of eastern Michigan set records as an Eagles receiver in 2021 and landed on the Maxwell list.

Eastern Michigan wide receiver Hassan Beydoun is tackled against Pittsburgh during the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26, 2019, in Detroit.

He caught the most passes (97) in a single season for EMU with 1,015 receiving yards (the school’s first 1,000-plus-yard receiver since 2004), four touchdowns, and was named a second-team All- MAC.

Here is a list of the national awards and when they release their pre-season winners:

Tuesday: Davey O’Brien Award (Best Quarterback).

Wednesday: Doak Walker Award (Best Running Back).

Thursday: Biletnikoff Prize (best wide receiver).

Friday: John Mackey Award (top tight end) and Rimington Trophy (top center).

July 25: Butkus Award (best linebacker) and Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).

July 26: Bronco Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Outland Trophy (best interior lineman, offensive or defensive).

July 27: Lou Groza Award (best kicker) and Ray Guy Award (best bettor).

July 28: Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player) and Wuerffel Trophy (top leader).

July 29: Walter Camp Award (player of the year).

August 1: Bednarik Award (Best Defensive Player).

Contact Tony Garcia at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.

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