Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas has made the first watch list of the year.
Thomas, the senior from Prattville, Alabama, is one of 90 players named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate football player.
Thomas will be entering his third season as starting quarterback and has thrown for 3,195 yards, rushed for 1,808 yards and accounted for 48 touchdowns during his career. He was a second-team All-ACC player in 2014, when he was MVP of the Orange Bowl.
Thomas will be trying to rebound from a disappointing 2015 season that saw Georgia Tech win only three games. Thomas played through injuries for much of the season and wound up throwing for 1,345 yards and rushing for 488.
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Thomas is one of 15 players from the ACC to be included in the Maxwell Award watch list, along with Georgians Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman, both from Clemson.
No Georgia Tech player has won the Maxwell Award. Quarterback Joe Hamilton finished third in 1999, losing out to Ron Dayne of Michigan and Drew Brees of Purdue. Hamilton won the Davey O’Brien Award that year, given to the nation’s best quarterback.
The Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player, had 15 ACC players on its 90-man watch list. No Georgia Tech player was on that list, but defensive end Bradley Chubb of N.C. State and cornerback DeVon Edwards of Duke both made the cut.