Liberty quarterback Malik Willis has been named to the 2021 Maxwell Award preseason watch list while defensive end Durrell Johnson has been named to the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award preseason watch list.
Willis is one of 80 FBS players named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list as announced by the Maxwell Football Club. The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the outstanding player in college football. It has been presented to the College Player of the Year every season since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell.
Willis finished 2020 as the No. 1 rushing quarterback in the country, leading all FBS quarterbacks with 944 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He set a school record in both statistical categories for a quarterback with those totals. Willis led the Flames in total offense, passing yards, and passing touchdowns in 2020 while finishing the year No. 7 in the country in rushing touchdowns and No. 16 in rushing yards.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced November 1, 2021 while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled November 22, 2021.
Johnson is one of 90 FBS players named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list as announced by the Maxwell Football Club. The 27th Bednarik Award will be presented to the outstanding defensive player in college football. It is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik.
During his first season with the Flames, Johnson posted a team-leading 11.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks while ranking No. 28 in the country in sacks per game. He also finished with 38 tackles, fourth most on the team, and added six quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, and an interception.
The winners of the Maxwell and Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9, 2021.