BYU senior quarterback Riley Nelson has been named to the 2012 Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List. The Maxwell Award is given to America’s most outstanding college football player.
Nelson, one of 23 quarterbacks and 65 players on the list, led BYU to a 6-1 record as a starter in 2011 and helped the Cougars to its fifth 10-win season in the last six years. The Logan, Utah product passed for 1,717 yards, 19 touchdowns and rushed for 392 yards and one score. His pass efficiency rating of 152.93 was No. 16 in the country last year and helped BYU rank No. 5 in third down conversions for the season.
A tough competitor on the field, Nelson threw at least three touchdown passes in a game on five different occasions and threw for a career-best 363 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-20 win at Hawai’i, just three weeks removed from rib injury and a collapsed lung. He also led BYU to a program-record third consecutive bowl victory and fifth bowl win in the last six years with a 24-21 win over Tulsa in the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl.
The Maxwell Award has been given to America's most outstanding collegiate football player since 1937, and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. The watch list will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences from coast to coast. Returning Maxwell Award semifinalists from 2011 include USC QB Matt Barkley, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and USC WR Robert Woods.
BYU has one Maxwell Award winner, quarterback Ty Detmer, winning the award in 1990. The Cougars have had several players named to the watch list over the years.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced October 29, and the three finalists will be unveiled November 19. The winner of the 2012 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on December 6. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 1, 2013.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, evaluating past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2012 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.
The Maxwell Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official website at NCFAA.org.