University of Illinois Fighting Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase has been named to the 65-man watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation’s best college football player.
Scheelhaase is one of only 11 underclassmen on the 65-man list and is one of 10 Big Ten players recognized. The sophomore quarterback threw for 1,825 yards and rushed for an Illini freshman record and UI quarterback record 868 yards in 2010 as a redshirt freshman.
He accounted for 22 TDs on the season (17 passing, five rushing) and got much better as the season went on: tossing 13 touchdowns against just one int in the last seven games. He was named a freshman All-American by two media outlets and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week six times. He did not win the conference freshman of the year award though, being edged out by the Wisconsin Badgers James White.
The 2010 Illini led the Big Ten in rushing (246.1 ypg) and broke school records for most points scored in a season (423) and season scoring average (32.54 ppg). Scheelhaase also guided the 2010 squad to the program’s first bowl victory since 1999, a 38-14 win over Baylor in the Texas Bowl. In that bowl win, Scheelhaase was 18-of-23 for 242 yards passing and also ran for 53 yards and a touchdown. He completed all 13 of his first-half passes for 170 yards.
Voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA head college football coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club, sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country.
Auburn’s Cam Newton took home the 2010 Maxwell Award, which has gone to a quarterback in each of the last eight years. The last time a non-quarterback won the award was 2002, when Penn State running back Larry Johnson took home the honor Usually the winner of the Heisman Trophy also takes home the Maxwell award.
Complete 2011 Maxwell Award Watch List:
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter
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