On Monday, two prominent Arizona State football players were added to the preseason watch lists of two awards.
QB Jayden Daniels
Daniels was added to the Maxwell Award watch list, awarded to the nation's most outstanding player. Per the Maxwell Football Club's press release, the Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, who was a former standout at Swarthmore College and a renowned sportswriter and football official.
The Maxwell Award watch list will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences from coast to coast, and will feature fresh faces after 2020 winner DeVonta Smith (Alabama) and finalists Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Mac Jones (Alabama) all moved on to the NFL. The list features six returning semifinalists from 2020 including Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), Breece Hall (Iowa State), D’Eriq King (Miami), Sam Howell (North Carolina) and Dillon Gabriel (UCF). The full list consists of 80 players with 14 schools having two players represented
Entering his junior season with Arizona State, Daniels would become the first ever ASU player to win the award, and the first from the Pac-12 to gain those honors since Marcus Mariota in 2014. Daniels scored nine total touchdowns in four games last season, with just one interception during that span. With ASU leading the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game last season, Daniels proved himself to be incredibly efficient in both the rushing and passing attack.
DB Chase Lucas
On the defensive side of the ball, the fifth-year starter landed on the Bednarik Award watch list. The Chuck Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lucas, like Daniels, would become the first player from Arizona State to win the respective award. Lucas would also become the Pac-12's second ever player to earn such honors, with Rey Maualuga winning the award in 2008.
Lucas currently headlines one of the Pac-12's best defensive backfields, if not one of the best in the country. Lucas allowed just one play over 15 yards last season and only 109 total yards. Through just four games, Lucas was the Pac-12's highest-graded cornerback according to Pro Football Focus.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced on Nov. 1, while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled three weeks later. The winners of the 2021 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the ESPN College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 9.
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