PHILADELPHIA – Baylor seniors Shock Linwood and Seth Russell and junior KD Cannon have been named to the watch list for the 80th-annual Maxwell Award, The Maxwell Football Club announced Tuesday. The Maxwell Award is given annually to America's College Player of the Year.
BU joins Clemson as the only two programs in the country to have three candidates on the preseason list. All three student-athletes will look to play an integral part in the Baylor offense in 2016, after each being a contributor in the country’s top-rated offense in both of the past two seasons.
Linwood was the starting running back for the Bears in the first 12 games of the 2015 season, before missing the bowl game due to injury. In his junior campaign, Linwood totaled 1,329 yards and 10 TDs on 196 carries and added 71 yards and a TD on nine receptions. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors from the AP, league coaches, Athlon, ESPN, Phil Steele and Waco Tribune-Herald. Linwood ranked seventh nationally and second in the Big 12 with 6.78 yards per carry. He was also ranked 20th nationally and fourth in the conference with 110.8 yards per game. The Linden, Texas, native is on the preseason Maxwell list for a third-straight season.
Russell was the starting QB for BU through the first seven games of 2015 before suffering a season-ending injury. In his first season as the starter, Russell racked up 2,104 yards, 29 TDs and six picks on 119-200 passing and 402 yards and six TDs on 49 rushes. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches and a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award. Russell ranked 15th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 with 29 passing TDs in just seven games. He broke the single-season school record with 10.06 total offense yards per play. The Garland, Texas, product has now earned watch list recognition from the award in back-to-back years.
Cannon was a starter at wide receiver in all 13 games for Baylor in 2015 and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore. He averaged 17.4 yards per reception, which ranked sixth in the Big 12, and 66.8 yards per game, which were eighth-best in the conference. Cannon was named All-Big 12 second team by the league coaches, ESPN, Phil Steele, San Antonio Express-News and Waco Tribune-Herald. He produced 868 yards and six TDs on 50 receptions for the season and added seven kick returns for 114 yards. He had at least one reception in all 13 games.
The Bears have now had at least one player on the award's watch list for the last six seasons as Robert Griffin III was honored in 2011, Terrance Williams made the 2012 list and Lache Seastrunk was recognized in 2013. In 2014, Linwood was joined by Antwan Goodley and Bryce Petty to give BU three players on the preseason list for the first time. Last season, Linwood and Russell were the lone Bears honored.
The Maxwell Award has been given annually since 1937, and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Oct. 31, while three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 21. The winner of the 2016 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 8. The formal presentations of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 10.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2016 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, FBS head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.