PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Maxwell Football Club announced its watch lists for the 85th Maxwell Award, presented annually to the outstanding player in college football, and for the 27th annual Chuck Bednarik Award, presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football today, which included Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall and Jeffrey Gunter, respectively. Both awards are proudly sponsored by Mammoth Tech and The Athletes’ Corner, which are Executive Partners of the Maxwell Football Club.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell who was a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.
Named to the 2021 Maxwell Award preseason watch list, McCall is one of six returning semifinalists from 2020 including Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Breece Hall (Iowa State), D’Eriq King (Miami), Sam Howell (North Carolina), and Dillon Gabriel (UCF).
Named to the 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football Preseason All-Sun Belt first team, the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason SBC All-Conference first team, and the 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt first team already this summer, McCall returns for his redshirt sophomore season in 2021 after recording a record-setting season in 2020.
Tabbed the 2020 Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Most Inspirational Freshman and named to both the 2020 FWAA Freshman All-American team and The Athletic’s 2020 College Football Freshman All-American team, McCall was a 2020 Manning Award finalist, a 2020 Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year Award semifinalist, a 2020 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award semifinalist, and a member of the Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2020 last season.
McCall was named the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches and earned a spot on the 2020 All-Sun Belt first team and the 2020 Phil Steele SBC All-Conference first team last season in which he led the Sun Belt and ranked 10th nationally with 26 passing touchdowns on the year.
He also led the Sun Belt and ranked in the top 30 nationally in passing efficiency at 184.3 (fifth), points responsible for with 202 (ninth), points responsible for per game at 18.4 (16th), passing yards with 2,488 (19th), and in total offensive yards per game at 277.9 (30th), and was second in the Sun Belt in completion percentage at 68.8 percent (172-of-250), in passing yards per completion at 14.47, and yards per attempt at 9.95.
McCall, who ranked sixth in the Sun Belt with seven rushing touchdowns and 12th in rushing yards with 569 rushing yards from his quarterback position, threw for over 200 yards in eight of the 11 games he played in on the season, including a career-high 338 passing yards at Troy (Dec. 12). He also tallied two passing touchdowns or more in nine games on the season, including a career-high four touchdown tosses against Arkansas State (Oct. 3) and at Georgia State (Oct. 31).
The Chuck Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania 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.
Named to the Bednarik Award preseason watch list, Gunter has also been named to the 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football Preseason All-Sun Belt first team, the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason SBC All-Conference first team, and the 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt first team.
Last season, Gunter earned a spot on the 2020 All-Sun Belt first team and the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt All-Conference first team as he led the nation in forced fumbles with six on the year. He also finished the season tied for second on the team and fourth in the Sun Belt with 6.5 sacks and was second on the team and seventh in the Sun Belt with 12.5 tackles-for-loss.
He totaled 58 tackles, including 35 solo stops, one interception, one pass breakup, and 12 quarterback hurries off the edge last season, including a season-high eight tackles twice versus Appalachian State (Nov. 21) and in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl versus No. 23 Liberty (Dec. 26).
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced on Nov. 1, 2021, while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled on Nov. 22, 2021. The winners of the 2021 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 9, 2021. The formal presentations of the Maxwell Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2022.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics