Three University of Louisville football players were named to the watch list for the 84th Maxwell Award presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football.
Junior quarterback Micale Cunningham, junior wide receiver Tutu Atwell, and sophomore running back Javian Hawkins were named to one of college football’s most prestigious lists.
Cunningham, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the Music City Bowl, is coming off a strong sophomore campaign in 2019. He started 11 of 13 games at quarterback, throwing for 2,065 yards on 112-of-179 passing with 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions, also rushing 122 times for 482 yards and six touchdowns. He threw for over 200 yards in six games, including a career high 288 yards in a 41-39 victory over Boston College.
The native of Montgomery, Ala., set the school record for passing efficiency at 194.45 and would have finished second nationally, but didn’t have enough passing attempts to meet NCAA standards. He led the nation in passing yards per completion at 18.44 yards and was tops in passing completions of 70 and 80 yards.
Atwell led the ACC in receiving yards and set the school’s single-season mark with 1,276 yards and equaled a school record with 12 touchdown receptions. He also knotted the school record with seven 100-yard receiving games and led the nation with four receptions of 70 or more yards.
A native of Miami, Fla., Atwell closed the season with a career high nine receptions for 147 yards in the 2019 Music City Bowl win over Mississippi State and registered a career best 152 receiving yards in a win over Syracuse last season. The 5-foot-9 speedster recorded his first three-touchdown game in a 38-21 win over Western Kentucky last year.
Hawkins is coming off a breakout 2019 season in which he was named a Freshman All-American and a second team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree.
Hawkins finished seventh nationally in rushing with 1,520 yards and nine touchdowns in guiding the Cardinals to an 8-5 record after a 38-28 win over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.
The Titusville, Fla., native set the school record for most rushing yards by a running back, breaking Howard Stevens’ previous mark of 1,429 yards in 1971. It was the third-most yards in a season at Louisville, behind quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 1,601 yards in 2017 and 1,571 in 2016.
Hawkins finished third in the league in rushing and tying for the league lead with eight 100-yard rushing games – the most in school history by a running back and second behind Jackson’s school record of 10.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.