The Maxwell Award watch list was released today and to nobody’s surprise, the SEC lead the way with 16 nominations including reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft JaDeveon Clowney.
The Maxwell Award has been given annually since 1937 when Clinton E. Frank won the first award and has been won by SEC schools eight times, most recently by former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in 2010.
Two-time defending champion Alabama led all schools with four nominees including last year’s semifinalist AJ McCarron, Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and C.J. Mosley. Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews also made the cut after leading the conference with 94 receptions in 2013 and is the leading returner in yardage after amassing 1,323 yards last year.
Texas A&M placed three on the list including the aforementioned Manziel, Mike Evans and offensive tackle Jake Matthews. The Aggies new left tackle is one of three offensive linemen to make the list which is a first for the watch list.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o won the Maxwell Award last year after leading the Fighting Irish to the BCS Championship Game. My early prediction is McCarron wins the award over Clowney and the award returns to the SEC.