Three Arizona State Sun Devils have landed on the 2013 Maxwell Award Watch List, which was released Monday.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly, running back Marion Grice and defensive tackle Will Sutton are all on the 76-player list for the award, which is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate football player.
Kelly is one of 32 quarterbacks on the list. The junior from Eagle, Idaho is coming off a surprising 2012 campaign in which he threw for 3,039 yards and 29 touchdowns for a Sun Devil team that finished 8-5 and won a bowl game for the first time since 2005. Among Pac-12 returning quarterbacks, only Oregon’s Marcus Mariota had a higher passer efficiency rating than Kelly’s mark of 159.9.
Grice was Arizona State’s leading rusher in 2012, despite only carrying the ball 103 times. He ran for 679 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and found the end zone 11 times. Grice finished the year as one of the hottest players in the country, running for 315 yards and five touchdowns in just 32 carries in wins over Arizona and Navy. The senior from Houston is also one of the best in the nation at catching the ball out of the backfield as shown by his 41 catches for 425 yards and a team-leading eight touchdown receptions.
Sutton, a senior from Corona, Calif., was simply one of the most dominant players in the country last season, racking up 13 sacks (3rd in the nation) and 23.5 tackles for loss (second in the nation). For his efforts, he was named a consensus All-American and also won the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Arizona State is one of only three programs in the country to have three or more players on this year’s Maxwell Award Watch List, joining defending BCS champion Alabama (4) and Texas A&M (3).