HUNTINGTON — Last season, Marshall quarterback Grant Wells impressed as a freshman, earning Conference USA accolades along the way.
This season, Wells’ accolades are starting on a more national scale.
On Monday, the Charleston native and George Washington High School graduate was named to the watch list for the 2021 Maxwell Award, given to the top player in college football.
Wells earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year and all-conference first-team honors for his performance in 2020, which had the Thundering Herd ranked No. 15 at one point of the season.
For the year, Wells finished 165 of 270 for 2,091 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Wells was named to the Manning Award National Quarterback of the Week for his efforts in a win over Middle Tennessee in which he went 25 of 37 for 336 yards and five touchdowns.
Wells was also named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week three times during his first season as the Thundering Herd’s starter.
One of those nominations came after his first game in a Marshall uniform when Wells went 16 of 23 for 307 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Eastern Kentucky in his debut.
In that game, he threw for 280 of his 307 yards prior to halftime to lead Marshall to a 38-0 halftime lead. He then saw limited action in the second half of the victory.
As the 2021 season approaches, Wells’ numbers are expected to increase within the scheme of new head coach Charles Huff, who brings a high-tempo aerial attack to the Marshall offense.
WVU’s Doege, Brown also on Maxwell watch list
West Virginia also had two players named to the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday morning.
WVU quarterback Jarret Doege was named to the list after leading the Mountaineers to a 6-4 record.
Doege finished the 2020 season 239 of 374 for 2,587 yards and 14 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
Doege eclipsed the 300-yard mark in four games last season, with his top passing performance being a 347-yard effort against Texas Tech. He added a 318-yard performance against Kansas, a 317-yard performance against Texas and a 301-yard effort against Kansas State.
WVU running back Leddie Brown also garnered mention on the list after rushing for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
Brown’s top rushing performance came against Kansas when he rushed for 195 yards on just 18 carries, an average of nearly 11 yards per carry.
Brown had five games over 100 yards for the Mountaineers on the season.
Those players represented three of 80 players selected for the Maxwell Award’s Preseason Watch List on Monday.
The award is named for Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a Swarthmore College player, coach and sportswriter.
The Maxwell Football Club was founded in 1935 by Bert Bell to present awards in Maxwell’s name to promote football. The Maxwell Award was created in 1937.
WVU’s Stills named to Bednarik Award watch list
WVU senior defensive lineman Dante Stills was named to the 27th annual Bednarik Award watch list Monday by the Maxwell Football Club.
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 1969 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of 1967.
Stills was named a 2020 All-Big 12 Conference first-team selection by PFF College and Phil Steele’s Magazine and was an All-Big 12 second-team defensive lineman in 2019.
In 2020, he finished with 35 tackles, including 15 solo stops, two sacks and led the team in tackles for loss with 10.5. He also had a fumble recovery, two pass breakups and blocked a field goal.
Stills had a season-high seven tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss, at Texas Tech.