Top 10 Candidates to Win the 2014 Maxwell Award

Top 10 Candidates to Win the 2014 Maxwell Award

AJ McCarron
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The Maxwell Football Club released its watch list for their 2014 award on Jul. 7. Last year's winner, A.J. McCarron (pictured above), has moved onto the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, so he will not repeat. Tim Tebow was the last to be a repeat winner as an award winner in 2007 and 2008. Twelve of the last 15 winners have all been QBs. That said, a QB winning this award again in 2014 is a high probability. Here are the top 10 candidates.

10. Ameer Abdullah, Senior, Nebraska - RB

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10. Ameer Abdullah, Senior, Nebraska - RB

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The running back from Homewood, AL has had a really nice career so far in the Big Ten. Alabama and Auburn recruited him as a cornerback, but Abdullah declined. Smart choice, as he was a Doak Walker Award finalist in 2013. He will have to headline the Cornhuskers' bid to be a top 20 NCAA program once the season comes to a close if he hopes to be the first running back to win the Maxwell Award since Larry Johnson won it at Penn State in 2002.

9. Taysom Hill, Junior, Brigham Young - QB

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9. Taysom Hill, Junior, Brigham Young - QB

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Hill originally committed to Stanford, but his LDS mission cancelled those plans. A real dark horse to win the Maxwell, he is a dual threat QB playing for a powerful spread offense that averaged over 30 PPG in 2013. Hill threw for 2,938 yards and 19 TDs last year, and ran for another 1344 yards while scoring 10 times on the ground.

8. T.J. Yeldon, Junior, Alabama - RB

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8. T.J. Yeldon, Junior, Alabama - RB

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The more experienced of the two very talented Crimson Tide backs, Yeldon figures to have greater big play potential, like an Adrian Peterson. His counterpart, Derrick Henry (SO), is a more ideal goal line bruiser type back. Barring an injury, head coach Nick Saban figures to give the lions share of the touches to Yeldon. Should he then decide to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft, Henry will be more fresh and ready to step in.

7. Melvin Gordon, Junior, Wisconsin - RB

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7. Melvin Gordon, Junior, Wisconsin - RB

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Gordon averaged a monstrous 7.8 YPC en route to being the nation's tenth ranked rusher in yardage (1,609) in 2013. He was the only player in the top 10 with less than 210 attempts on the season. RB Antonio Andrews of WKU had the second least, with 267 carries. Gordon figures to be a large focal point of the Badgers' offense in Madison for the upcoming season.

6. Brett Hundley, Junior, UCLA - QB

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6. Brett Hundley, Junior, UCLA - QB

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Hundley figured to be the best QB available by some scouts heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. However, he chose not to enter the draft as an underclassman by leaving school early. He threw for 2845 yards in 2013, with 22 TDs and 9 INTs. Couple that with his 587 yards and nine TDs on the ground, and big things are expected from the Hundley and the experienced Bruins' offense in 2014. They figure to be a preseason Top 15 team by the Associated Press.

5. Braxton Miller, Senior, Ohio State - QB

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5. Braxton Miller, Senior, Ohio State - QB

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One of three seniors on this list, Miller is a four-year starter at QB for the Buckeyes. This will be his third full season in head coach Urban Meyer's spread offense. A true dual threat at his position, Miller has improved his quarterback efficiency rating every year in Columbus since being named the starter in week four of 2011. Miller will be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder in 2014, trying to prove his worth to future NFL suitors.

4. Todd Gurley, Junior, Georgia - RB

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4. Todd Gurley, Junior, Georgia - RB

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Gurley is the favorite to be a non-quarterback to win the Maxwell Award in 2014. One of many in a long chain of talented Georgia running backs that include the likes of 1982 Maxwell Award winner Herschel Walker, in 2012 Gurley was the only true freshman to be named First-Team All-SEC by the Associated Press. His workhorse status for the Bulldogs this year should produce some eye popping numbers.

3. Bryce Petty, Senior, Baylor - QB

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3. Bryce Petty, Senior, Baylor - QB

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Petty enters his final season in college football. Last year, he led the charge as QB for the prolific Bears offense that averaged 52. 4 points per game and 618.8 total yards per game. Both of those were good for number one rankings in all of NCAA Division 1 football. Petty is considered a pro style pocket passing QB. He threw for 4,200 yards and 32 TDs last season.

2. Jamies Winston, Sophomore, Florida State - QB

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2. Jamies Winston, Sophomore, Florida State - QB

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Winston won the Heisman last year as a freshman for the Seminoles. While he put up out of this world numbers, he did lose WR Kelvin Benjamin (54 REC, 1011 YDS, 15 TD) to the NFL. Benjamin's departure will undoubtedly leave a void on the FSU offense to some degree. The defending national champions should be strong again, but it would be reasonable to expect some regression in Winston's 2014 numbers.

1. Marcus Mariota, Junior, Oregon - QB

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1. Marcus Mariota, Junior, Oregon - QB

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It was rumored that if Mariota had declared for last spring's NFL draft, the Houston Texans would have had their man. There would have been no contemplation over deciding to take Jadeveon Clowney or trade the pick away. Mariota would be in Houston. Returning to one of the premier college offenses in the nation, the Honolulu, HI native looks to keep the Ducks undefeated in 2014, and cement himself as the most complete quarterback in the land.

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