A pair of Bearcats were named to the 2016 Maxwell Award watch list, with quarterback Gunner Kiel and running back Mike Boone among the group of 90 preseason contenders.
It remains an uncertainty if Kiel will actually be the week one starter for UC, but the national perception is that he will be and that he will continue to be a prolific passer. Last season, although injuries slowed him, Kiel throw for 2,777 yards and 19 touchdowns on 65.2 percent passing, while being intercepted 11 times. He threw for 3,254 yards and 31 scores in 2014, his first season with the Bearcats after transferring from Notre Dame.
Boone was second on the team in rushing last season (749 yards) and led the way in total touchdowns with nine. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry and also added in 108 yards on 15 receptions. His 857 yards from scrimmage ranked third behind Shaq Washington and Chris Moore, who have both moved on from the college ranks. Boone will likely continue to split work with Tion Green, but both backs may get more chances as Hosey Williams, who was the team’s leading rusher last season (777 yards), is gone.
Other representatives from the American Athletic Conference on the watch list include USF running back Marlon Mack, Temple quarterback P.J. Walker and Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. The Maxwell Award is the annual trophy given by the NCAA and the Maxwell Football club to the best player in the country. Alabama running back Derrick Henry won it last year.