Jalon Daniels, Devin Neal Named to Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels and running back Devin Neal are among the standout college football players who have been named to the preseason watch list for the 87th annual Maxwell Award.

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 Swarthmore College and a renowned sportswriter and football official.

Daniels, the Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, was a breakthrough player during the 2022 season as he led the Jayhawks to a 5-0 start and the program’s first bowl game appearance since 2008. He was a Second Team All-Big 12 selection after completing 152-of-230 (66.1 percent) passes for 2,014 yards and 18 touchdowns, while adding 425 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Daniels capped off the season with a record-setting performance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, where he went 37-of-55 for 544 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for a touchdown.

A native of Lawndale, California, Daniels was previously named to the Preseason All-Big 12 First Team and earned preseason all-conference honors from Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. He earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors and was a Second Team Academic All-American in 2022 and was named the Walter Camp National FBS Offensive Player of the Week following his performance at Houston. Daniels was a four-time Manning Award Star of the Week and a three-time Davey O’Brien Great 8 List honoree in 2022.

Neal was also a Preseason All-Big 12 selection after becoming the 13th Jayhawk in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season in 2022. He concluded his sophomore season at KU with 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns on 180 rushing attempts, while adding 183 yards and one touchdown on 21 receptions to total 1,273 all-purpose yards for the season. Neal had three 100-yard rushing games in 2022, including a career-high 224 yards and one touchdown against Oklahoma State. He added 110 yards on six receptions against OSU, becoming the first Jayhawk to total 200-plus rushing yards and 100-plus receiving yards in the same game.

A hometown product from Lawrence, Neal is the only returning 1,000-yard rusher in the Big 12 this season, and he enters the year having received preseason All-Big 12 honors from both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. He was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2022 and is a two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week in his career. Neal was also named the Doak Walker Award National Running Back of the Week following the Oklahoma State game last season.

Daniels and Neal become the first Jayhawks named to the Maxwell Watch List since Pooka Williams in 2020 and are the first KU duo to earn the honor since 2009 (Todd Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe). The watch list will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conference from coast to coast, led by Caleb Williams (USC), who was the 2022 winner. The full list consists of 85 players, with 16 schools having two players represented.

The Maxwell Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. The NCFAA’s sixteen members are unveiling preseason watch lists over a two-week period as the association spearheads a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates.