The 2018 Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Award Finalists Announced
Maxwell Football Club President, Mark Dianno, announced the 2018 finalists for the 82nd Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year and the 24th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year
The respective lists include a field of three candidates for each of these awards as determined by the semifinalist voting process which ended Nov. 18
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Finalists listed in alphabetical order by player’s school with position and class designated
2018 Maxwell Award Finalists
Tua Tagovailoa Alabama Quarterback Sophomore
Kyler Murray Oklahoma Quarterback Junior
Will Grier West Virginia Quarterback Senior
2018 Chuck Bednarik Award Finalists
Quinnen Williams Alabama Defensive Line (R) Soph
Christian Wilkins Clemson Defensive Line Senior
Josh Allen Kentucky Linebacker Senior
Tagovailoa has led the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide to an 11-0 (7-0 SEC) record and an SEC West division championship this fall. He has authored one of the most prolific seasons by a quarterback in recent history throwing for 2865 yards and 31 touchdowns while only throwing 2 interceptions. He added 4 rushing touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 212.22. He will lead the Tide against Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday.
Murray has completed 72 percent of his passes, going 213-of-296 for 3,212 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s also rushed for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns while leading the Sooners to a 10-1 record and a No. 6 national ranking. He is arguably the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in college football this season.
Grier has led the Mountaineers to an 8-2 (6-2 Big XII) record and a No. 12 national ranking. He has passed for 3325 yards and 33 touchdowns and also scored twice on the ground. He will finish his regular season this Friday when Oklahoma visits Morgantown for a Big 12 Conference clash.
Williams has been one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the country this season. He has 6 sacks for 35 yards in losses, 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9 quarterback hurries and 1 pass breakup. He regularly forces offenses to account for him with 2 or 3 blockers and generally wreaks havoc in the middle of the line.
Allen cemented his legacy as one of the all-time great linebackers at Kentucky when he broke the school’s sack record last Saturday. The 6’5 senior has notched 80 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks for minus 84 yards. He also has 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 5 quarterback hurries.
Wilkins has been a fixture on Clemson’s defensive line for the past 3 seasons and is a player who offenses have to account for on every snap. Wilkins has registered 40 tackles (10.5 for loss), 10 quarterback pressures, 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He spearheads a Clemson defense that ranks among the national leaders in almost every major statistical category.
Last season, the Maxwell Award went to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Chuck Bednarik Award was presented to Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mayfield was the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and is now the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Fitzpatrick was also a 1st round pick and is a starter in the secondary for the Miami Dolphins.
The winners of the 82nd Maxwell Award and the 24th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 6, 2018. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Gala which will be held at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ on Friday March 8, 2019.
Voting for both of the collegiate awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club will begin on Wednesday, November 21st and close on Sunday December 2nd. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA Head Football Coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected national media
Frank Coyle is a longtime member of the FWAA and a voter for the Heisman Trophy, Outland Trophy, Maxwell Award, Chuck Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Fred Biletnikoff and Eddie Robinson awards annually for over 25 years.