The Maxwell Award kicked of the chain of award watch lists to start dropping in July, a telltale sign that the season is not far away. Ohio State was in rare air as a the only school with three players on the watch list for the most valuable player in college football, also known as the Maxwell Award.
Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson were among the list of 85 players, a list that includes 2021 winner Bryce Young along with seven semifinalists.
The Buckeyes were the only program to have three players make the list while 14 other schools had a pair make the list, including Alabama, Georgia, Michigan State and USC, to name a few.
Ohio State has not produced a Maxwell Award winner since the 1995 season when Eddie George took home the hardware during his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign. He is one of four Buckeyes to win the list, including Archie Griffin (1975), Bob Ferguson (1961) and Howard Cassady (1955).
Stroud is a returning Heisman finalist along with Maxwell Award semifinalist. Last season Stroud threw for 4,435 yards with 317 completions and 44 touchdowns in leading Ohio State to a 11-2 season in his first year as a starter. Stroud would play in 12 of those 13 games, sitting out the Akron game nursing a sore shoulder. Stroud would throw for 19 touchdowns over his final four games of the season, but fans will remember a rough outing against Michigan, a loss that kept Ohio State out of the Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoff.
Smith-Njigba would lead the Buckeyes in receptions and yards last season with 1,606 and 95 respectively. While people would be quick to talk about Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, JSN was there to be Ohio State’s Swiss Army Knife on the offense and would go off against Utah in the 2022 Rose Bowl, setting bowl records for 15 receptions and 347 yards against Utah in that game. JSN will be Ohio State’s No. 1 target but he will have other major targets around him and this season could be some of the greatest single-season numbers at the position in school history.
Henderson is the third player on the list and the Ohio State running back had a big year as a true freshman with 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 277 against Tulsa. Henderson appeared to hit a bit of a freshman wall as the year went on but people are quick to forget that Henderson did not have a senior season of football due to a postponed season in his home state of Virginia. A year older, Henderson is poised for another big year and the Maxwell committee recognize that by adding the sophomore back to the list.
Semifinalists will be announced on November 1st before the list is finally cut down to a final three finalists on November 22nd. The award will be given on December 8th. We will be there for the whole ride as the Buckeyes look to fill up the trophy shelves around the WHAC just a little bit more.