In the midst of all the negativity surrounding the Tennessee football program, one shining light remains as junior running back John Kelly has been added to the watch list for the 81st Maxwell Award.
The Maxwell Football Club made the announcement early Friday morning. Selections were previously made based on 2016 performances, but late-bloomers in 2017 have warranted the club to make several additions to the list, including Kelly.
Kelly currently leads the SEC with 494 rushing yards, 723 all-purpose yards and is averaging 144.6 all-purpose yards per game. His six rushing touchdowns are tied for most in the league.
He’s also been frequently used in the passing attack this season, gaining 229 yards on 22 receptions. In addition, Kelly has topped the 100-yard mark three different times this year (most by an SEC running back), including a career-high 141 yards against Florida. Of course, you can’t forget his four touchdown performance against Georgia Tech to give the Vols the win in double overtime.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the most outstanding collegiate football player in America since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert W. Maxwell. Peyton Manning is the only Vol to ever win the award and did so in his final 1997 season.
Kelly is one of 13 players added to list with other additions including Clemson QB Kelly Bryant, Georgia QB Jake Fromm, TCU QB Kenny Hill, Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson, Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall and NC State QB Ryan Finley, among others.
Semifinalists will be named on Oct. 30 and the final three will be named on Nov. 20. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will be held on Dec. 7 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
One thing’s for sure and Donald Trump hit the nail right on the head— John Kelly is one of our great stars.