Football

Will Levis, Chris Rodriguez Jr. on Maxwell Award Watch List

University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis and running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. each were named to the 86th Maxwell Award Watch List which is presented annually to the outstanding player in college football, it was announced today by the Maxwell Football Club.

Levis, a 6-foot-3, 232-pound senior from Madison, Connecticut, is entering his second year as the starter at quarterback. He had an impressive debut season for the Wildcats after transferring from Penn State in 2021. In 13 games, he threw for 2,827 yards and 24 scores, while rushing for 376 yards and nine touchdowns. His 24 TD passes were the most since Andre’ Woodson had 40 in 2007. He totaled 3,202 yards of total offense, the seventh player in school history to reach 3,000 yards of total offense in a season.

Rodriguez, a 5-11, 224-pound product of McDonough, Georgia, is the Southeastern Conference’s leading returning rusher. In 2021, he averaged 106.1 yards per game, ranking 12th nationally and second in the SEC. His 1,379 rushing yards ranks fifth on UK’s single-season list and he became the 10th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the 14th total time a Wildcat has accomplished that feat. He had nine 100-yard rushing games last season, a school record. He also had 13 receptions for 61 yards and three touchdowns.

For his career, Rodriguez has 2,740 career rushing yards (sixth on UK’s career list), 26 career TDs (tied for second on UK’s career list) and 15 100-yard games (third in school history.)

The duo helped lead UK to 10 wins for the fourth time in school history, along with 1950 (11-1), 1977 (10-1) and 2018 (10-3). It also marked the first time UK had at least eight total victories (including bowls) three times in a four-year span since 1949-52.

The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell who was a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sportswriter and football official.

The Maxwell Football Club has once again partnered with Pro Football Focus (PFF), XOS and Phil Steele Publications as selection committee partners. PFF provides detailed metrics and performance-based assessments to selection committee staff, and several senior PFF analysts are members of the selection committee. Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is generally recognized as the most complete preseason magazine. XOS provides the Maxwell Club selection committee with access to game footage from all FBS colleges.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced November 1, 2022, while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled November 22, 2022. The winners of the 86th Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, 2022. The formal presentations of the Maxwell Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards live from Atlantic City, NJ on March 10, 2023.

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