PHILADELPHIA — Tennessee junior running back John Kelly has been added to the 2017 Watch List for the 81st Maxwell Award, as announced on Friday by the Maxwell Football Club.
The original lists were comprised of players who were selected based on their performances during the 2016 season. As the 2017 season has progressed, the Club believes that several additional players warrant attention because of their noteworthy play.
Kelly is enjoying a standout junior season and has emerged as one of the most dynamic running backs in the nation. He currently leads the SEC with 494 rushing yards, 723 all-purpose yards and 144.6 all-purpose yards per game. His six rushing scores are tied for the most in the league. Kelly also has 22 receptions for 229 yards and his 4.4 receptions per game rank eighth in the SEC. He has topped the 100-yard rushing mark three times this season (most by a SEC running back), including a career-best 141 yards against Florida on Sept. 16. Against Georgia Tech on Sept. 4, Kelly had a career-high four rushing touchdowns to lead the Vols to an overtime victory over the Yellow Jackets.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the outstanding collegiate football player in America since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell. VFL, Tennessee legend and 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning won the award in 1997.
Kelly is one of 13 players who were added to the watch list on Friday. The other additions include TCU running back Darius Anderson, Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, NC State quarterback Ryan Finley, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, TCU quarterback Kenny Hill, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson, Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced on Oct. 30 and three finalists will be announced Nov. 20. The winner of the 2017 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will be held on Dec. 7 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 9, 2018.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club’s Selection Committee and the Maxwell Club reserves the right to make additions and subtractions to these lists as the 2017 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for these awards.