A pair of offensive skill players for the USC football team has made the watch list for the 81st Maxwell Award.
Quarterback Jake Bentley and receiver Deebo Samuel are on the watch list for the award which is given each year to the college football player of the year. It is named after Robert "Tiny" Maxwell who is a former player, sportswriter and official in college football.
Bentley, a 6-3, 220-pound sophomore from Opelika, Ala., is the incumbent at quarterback after starting each of the final seven games of 2016, posting a 4-3 record.
After one season, he already ranks first on the Carolina list for career completion percentage at 65.8 (125-for-190) while throwing for 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns.
Samuel, a 6-0, 215-pound junior from Inman, S.C., is the top returning receiver on the squad with 71 career catches for 944 yards, Samuel has scored nine career touchdowns - six on the ground, two receiving and one on a kickoff return. He tied the school’s single-game record with 14 receptions and set Birmingham Bowl records with 14 catches for 190 yards against USF.
Linebacker Skai Moore is on the Bednarik watch list. That award goes to college football's defensive player of the year and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.
Moore, a 6-2, 218-pound senior from Cooper City, Fla., missed the 2016 season due to a neck injury. He has been named preseason second-team All-SEC by Athlon.
Back in 2015, Moore was a second-team All-SEC selection by both the AP and the league’s coaches. Moore has tallied 260 career tackles and is 47 shy of moving into the school’s all-time top-10 list. He led the team in tackles for three-consecutive seasons from 2013-15, becoming the first player to do so since Tony Watkins from 1992-94, and could become the first Gamecock to lead the team in tackles in four seasons, a feat that has been done just 14 times in NCAA Division I history.
Moore also owns 11 career interceptions, tying for third on the all-time list and just three shy of Bo Davies’ school record of 14.