The hype surrounding the Miami Hurricanes 2017 season got a few more logs added to the already intense fire as three UM players were named to college football award preseason watch lists Monday.
Junior running back Mark Walton headlined the group as he was selected to the Maxwell Award – which honors college football’s player of the year – watch list.
The Miami Booker T. Washington product earned the high honor after his sophomore campaign included him rushing 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns. Because of his all-around skill set, versatility and production, Walton has set himself up to be one of the best offensive players in the ACC and is being considered a Heisman “dark horse”.
Walton will be the bell cow in head coach Mark Richt’s offense – even more so because of the team’s question marks at quarterback – this season. Even though coaches tried to limit Walton’s workload during this past spring – much to his chagrin – he’s sure to get more than his fair share of touches in both the run and passing games.
If Walton earns the award, he’d only be the fourth Hurricane to receive the trophy. Former UM and national championship winning quarterback Ken Dorsey was Miami’s last Maxwell Award recipient in 2001.
Junior defensive lineman Kendrick Norton and sophomore middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman both were added to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list Monday. The Bednarik Award honors the nation’s top defensive player.
Quarterman, who earned freshman All-American honors from multiple publications this past season, finished his first collegiate season with 84 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
One-third of the “Bermuda Triangle” – with fellow sophomore linebackers Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney – Quarterman quickly became one of Miami’s leaders on defense.
Norton has thrived under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and his attacking scheme, registering 39 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two sacks in 2016.
Quarterman or Norton have the chance to join former UM linebacker Dan Morgan (2000) as the school’s only Bednarik Award winner.