Cam Rising, Tavion Thomas Earn Maxwell Award List Nod
SALT LAKE CITY- The Utes continue to earn preseason praise ahead of what many are touting to be a big season in 2022. The latest national nod came Monday morning when Utah quarterback Cam Rising and running back Tavion Thomas were named to the Maxwell Award watchlist. The Maxwell Award has been given to the College Football Player of the Year since 1937. This year’s list is comprised of 85 hopefuls and Utah is one of 14 schools with at least two players on the list.
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The semifinalists and finalists will be announced November of this year with the award being presented to the winner in December at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
How Rising and Thomas Earned The Recognition
Both Rising and Thomas were key cogs in Utah’s dominance in 2021 and are expected to do more of the same in 2022. Neither player played a full season and/or started the full season, but both proved to be invaluable down the stretch.
Rising wasn’t a factor for the Utes until a little more than midway through the San Diego State game when he replaced original starter Charlie Brewer after two and half hapless games where Brewer couldn’t get much going. Though Utah still lost the San Diego State game, Rising gave them a chance leading Utah back from a deficit into triple overtime. From then on out Rising was leading the charge for the Utes going 8-1 in Pac-12 play, earning their first Pac-12 Championship and putting on a show at the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.
Rising ended the year 204-320 passing for 2,493 yards, 20 touchdowns, five interceptions and a QBR of 84.2. Despite not starting in the first three games, Rising’s QBR was the highest of any Pac-12 quarterback, sixth overall in the country and earned him first-team All-Pac-12.
Thomas started 13 of 14 games for the Utes only sitting out against Arizona. Early on, Thomas was a little slow to start having some fumble issues while also splitting carries more evenly with fellow running backs T.J. Pledger and Micah Bernard before separating himself as more of the workhorse.
Despite not getting off to the quickest start, Thomas still managed 204 carries for 1,108 yards, and 21 touchdowns which set a new Utah school record for single-season rushing touchdowns. Thomas’ efforts were also good enough to earn him first-team All-Pac-12 in 2021.
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