2015 Preseason Award Projections: Maxwell Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2015 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2016 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Maxwell Award is given to the best player in college football. Last year, the winner was Marcus Mariota, who was our choice for runner-up behind our prediction of Jameis Winston. Two years ago, the winner was Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, so this award is tough to predict.

Maxwell Award Winner:

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

It is an absolute joke that the Maxwell Award thought A.J. McCarron was the best player in college football two seasons ago. McCarron didn’t come close to being as good as a large number of players like Jameis Winston during his Heisman Trophy season. That same year, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel, Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Randy Gregory, Aaron Donald, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Justin Gilbert, Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason and many, many more deserved it more than McCarron. I can’t fathom how the selection committee gave the award to McCarron with what Winston did that season.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o (2013) and Penn State running back Larry Johnson (2002) are the only non- quarterbacks to win the Maxwell Award this century, so this prediction can safely focus on the signal-callers. Not knowing Ohio State’s starting quarterback makes this more difficult, but Boykin looks poised for another massive season. Playing in a conference that lacks quality defenses doesn’t hurt, plus he has talent around him.

Boykin (6-2, 205) did a lot of damage with his arm and legs last season. He ran for 707 yards with eight touchdowns while completing 61 percent of his passes for 3,901 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Led by Boykin, TCU was a point-machine, and there is no reason to think that won’t be the case in 2015. He could be the most prolific quarterback in the nation and bring home the Maxwell Award.

Maxwell Award Runner-Up:

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Prescott is definitely capable of putting together a big season to win the Maxwell Award. Last year, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,449 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while averaging 4.7 yards per carry for 986 yards with 14 touchdowns on the ground. Prescott was slowed by an ankle injury in the second half of the year, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is a dual-threat quarterback who could produce a huge year for the Bulldogs and be the recipient of the Maxwell Award.

Maxwell Award Dark Horse:

Jared Goff, QB, California

Goff hasn’t gotten a lot of attention over the past two seasons, but he has racked up a lot of touchdown passes and yards for the Golden Bears. Goff threw 53 touchdowns over his first two years as a starter, including 35 in 2014 while completing 62 percent of his passes. The efficient signal-caller also threw only seven interceptions.

Goff is a pocket passer who plays in a passing-driven offense. He looks poised to produce another massive season in 2015, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets consideration for postseason awards.

Honorable Mentions: Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Miami’s Brad Kaaya, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, USC’s Cody Kessler, Kentucky’s Patrick Towles, Cinncinati’s Gunner Kiel, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett, Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs and BYU’s Taysom Hill.

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