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J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum earn spot on Maxwell Award preseason watch list

These two guys are set to have a huge impact this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Nebraska at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum and quarterback J.J. McCarthy have landed on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s best overall player of the year.

Corum has made it for the second straight year on the watch list for the Maxwell, while this is McCarthy’s first time on the watch list. The last Michigan player to win the award was Desmond Howard in 1991.

Other players to make the watch list in the Big Ten include Illinois wide receiver Isaiah Williams, Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, Ohio State wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, Penn State running back Nicholas Singleton, Purdue quarterback Hudson Card, Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai and Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen.

McCarthy is expected to take a big leap during his upcoming junior year. This will be his first season as a full-time starter, as he split reps with McNamara prior to officially taking over in Week 3. He also has had a full offseason, as he was injured last spring and did not participate up until fall camp last year. He’s among the best returning quarterbacks in the country, so expect great things from him in 2023.

As a junior last season, Corum was well on his way to a spot in New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, but a knee injury in the Illinois game cost him a shot at having a monster game against Ohio State and beyond. He finished 2022 with 1,463 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, to go along with 11 receptions for 80 yards and another score.

Now back for his senior season, Corum is expected to put up big performances once again for the Maize and Blue in 2023. It also helps that he has a perfect complement alongside him in junior Donovan Edwards, who will relieve him more often this season and help preserve both their health. With the mission to get to the National Championship this season, having both Corum and Edwards stay healthy throughout the course of the season is the best way to get there.

With Corum and McCarthy making the Maxwell Award preseason watch list, one would think Corum would also be on the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award — given every year to the best running back in college football — and McCarthy would be on the Davey O’Brien, given to the best quarterback in college football. Those watch lists should be announced in a couple days.

But for now, it’s no secret McCarthy and Corum are among the nation’s top overall players, and big things are anticipated for both them and the Michigan Wolverines in 2023.