Mountain West Football: Eight Named To 2020 Maxwell Award Watch List
Eight players from seven different Mountain West teams start in the running to be named college football’s best overall player.
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Who has the best chance?
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Watch list season continued today with the release of the Maxwell Award roll call. Given annually to the nation’s best player, there are eight athletes from the Mountain West on this year’s iteration.
Boise State leads the way with a pair of players on the list in quarterback Hank Bachmeier and running back George Holani. The duo shined as freshmen for the Broncos as the program secured yet another Mountain division title, with Bachmeier throwing for 1,879 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions and Holani becoming the latest Broncos running to crack the 1,000-yard mark, finishing with 1,014 yards and seven scores in all.
Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson, fresh off of being named our staff’s and the conference media’s preseason offensive player of the year, lands on the list after averaging 7.7 catches and 112 yards while catching eight touchdowns in ten games.
San Jose State’s Tre Walker is the other premier pass catcher in the conference to make the cut. Though he only scored two touchdowns in 2019, he actually outpaced Jackson with 79 receptions and 1,161 receiving yards, both of which are the best such figures by any returning Mountain West receiver in 2020.
Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers, who landed on the Hornung Award watch list yesterday, was one of the most well-rounded offensive weapons in the Mountain West last fall. He led the conference with 16 total touchdowns while rushing for 899 yards on 177 carries and catching 43 passes for 348 yards.
The two running backs named to the conference media’s preseason all-conference team, Wyoming’s Xazavian Valladay and UNLV’s Charles Williams, also join Rivers in the Maxwell ranks. Valladay and Williams finished first and second, respectively, in rushing yards among Mountain West runners, though Williams outpaced his Cowboys peer in yards per carry (5.93 to 5.12) and touchdowns (11 to eight).
Lastly, the big surprise on the Maxwell list is Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. In ten games last fall, he completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,335 yards and 11 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He definitely finished the year with a flourish, though, throwing for 351 yards in the rivalry game against UNLV and 401 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Ohio.
Last year’s Maxwell Award winner was Louisiana State’s Joe Burrow.