Two Spartans, one Wolverine among locals named to Maxwell Award watch list

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Former Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III was a finalist for last season’s Maxwell Award, and this year’s watch list for the award given annually to college football’s best player includes two more Spartans.

Redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne and fifth-year senior wide receiver Jayden Reed are among the 85 players announced on Monday, along with Michigan junior running back Blake Corum.

Michigan State receiver Jayden Reed and quarterback Payton Thorne (10) were both named to the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday.

Reed caught 59 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns last season while leading the Big Ten in punt returns with two being taken back for touchdowns, tied for the most in FBS. He earned first-team All-American honors as an all-purpose player from the American Football Coaches Association and was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation's most versatile player.

Thorne is coming off a record-setting season when he threw for a Michigan State-best 27 touchdowns, surpassing Kirk Cousins’ mark of 25 from 2011. Thorne also ranked among MSU's single-season leaders in total offense (third with 3,414 yards), passing yards (third with 3,233), passing yards per game (third with 248.7) and passing efficiency (sixth with 148.1 rating). An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, Thorne finished the season 234-of-388 for 3,233 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Corum earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches last season as well as honorable mention from the media. He ran for 952 yards but was sidelined for two-and-a-half games late in the regular season with a high ankle sprain. He scored 12 total touchdowns as the Wolverines won the Big Ten championship and earned a spot on the College Football Playoff. Corum also returned 12 kickoffs for 304 yards.

Central Michigan running back Lew Nichols III, Western Michigan running back Sean Tyler and Eastern Michigan wide receiver Hassan Beydoun also made the list.

Nichols led the FBS in rushing yards (1,848) and rushing yards per game (142.2) last season, just ahead of Walker in both categories, and was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Tyler carried the ball 178 times for 1,150 yards and nine touchdowns for the Broncos while Beydoun hauled in an EMU-record 97 passes while gaining 1,015 receiving yards and scoring four touchdowns.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau