Maryland football quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was named to the Maxwell Award watch list Monday, becoming the first Terrapins quarterback included in the national player pool since 2011.
The Maxwell Award, entering its 85th year, is given to the best FBS player in the country, regardless of position. The last Maryland player to be named to the watch list was running back Anthony McFarland in 2019. Quarterback Danny O’Brien — fresh off a 2010 campaign in which he earned ACC rookie of the year honors — was named in 2011 ahead of a dismal final season with Maryland, in which he threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions before transferring.
Tagovailoa transferred to College Park from Alabama ahead of last season, and in four games, he showed the highs he’s capable of while also displaying the several lows.
Tagovailoa threw three interceptions against Northwestern and Indiana, but he also threw three touchdowns against Minnesota and Penn State. He added two rushing scores against the Golden Gophers as part of his 394-passing yard display — the 10th-most yards in single-game program history.
The junior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, ranked ninth in Maryland single-season history after completely 61.5% of his passes, and he finished the season with 1,011 passing yards. Tagovailoa led the conference with 13.48 yards per completion.
Tagovailoa is one of 11 Big Ten representatives on the Maxwell Award’s watch list, which includes 80 players. He joins quarterback Michael Penix and wide receiver Ty Fryfogle from Indiana, quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim from Minnesota, wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson from Ohio State, wide receiver Jahan Dotson from Penn State, running back Tyler Goodson from Iowa, wide receiver David Bell from Purdue and quarterback Adrian Martinez from Nebraska.
Maryland will open the season against West Virginia on Sept. 4, with Tagovailoa a key offensive returner. He’s joined by a receiving corps without much turnover, although the Terrapins will be without tailback Jake Funk, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams after averaging 129 rushing yards per game as a senior.
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