Baylor running back Shock Linwood, quarterback Seth Russell, and wide receiver KD Cannon have all been named to the Maxwell Award watch list. The award, now in its 80th year, annually honors the top player in college football. The prospects were announced by the Maxwell Football Club yesterday. Baylor is one of two schools to have three candidates on the watch list, joined by ACC powerhouse Clemson.
This is Linwood’s third straight appearance on the preseason Maxwell list. The rising senior served as the starting running back for the Bears last season, rushing for 1,329 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns on 196 carries. He also added 71 receiving yards and one touchdown on nine receptions. Linwood started in the first 12 games last season before injury prompted him to miss the Russell Athletic Bowl. Last season, he also ranked second in the Big 12 in yards per carry (6.78) and fourth in yards per game (110.8). Linwood received second-team All-Big 12 honors.
Russell was the starting quarterback for the first seven games of last season before also suffering a season-ending injury. In his junior campaign he threw for 2,104 yards, 29 touchdowns and six interceptions on 119-200 passes. Russell also rushed for 402 yards and six touchdowns on 42 carries. He ranked fourth in the Big 12 with 29 passing touchdowns in seven games and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 player. The Bears were a perfect 7-0 with Russell as their quarterback last season as he broke the single-season school record with 10.06 total offensive yards per play. This is his second year on the watch list.
Cannon started all 13 games at wide receiver for the Bears last season. In his sophomore season Cannon totaled 868 yards and six touchdowns on 50 receptions. On special teams he added 114 yards on seven kick returns. Cannon ranked sixth in the Big 12, averaging 17.4 yards per reception. The sophomore was named second-team All-Big 12.
Baylor has been represented on the watch list for each of the last six seasons with Robert Griffin III, Terrance Williams, Lache Seastrunk, Antwan Goodley and Bryce Petty making the list. Baylor has yet to have a player win the award (Andrew Luck won the award over Griffin in 2011). The winner of the 2016 Maxwell Award will be announced on December 8.
Junior linebacker Taylor Young has been named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the NCAA's best defensive player. Young tallied 80 tackles and four sacks during his 12 games with the Bears last season.
The Bears open the 2016 season against Northwestern State on September 2.