Football award watch lists have been coming out left and right with the Virginia Tech Hokies having a trio of players earn recognition from major offensive awards. With that said, here’s a recap of the players earning watch list spots.
Ryan Willis: Maxwell Award Watch List
Ryan Willis was one of 80 offensive players (of all positions) named to the Maxwell Award watch list.
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) July 15, 2019
Willis was impressive after coming in for the injured Josh Jackson late against Old Dominion finishing the 2018 season throwing for 2,716 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions with a 58.5% completion rate and a career high 138.0 passer rating. Willis also ran for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
Justin Fuente is yet to officially name Ryan Willis the Hokies’ starting QB though it would be surprising if that wasn’t the case early in fall camp as Willis has continued to improve and impress his teammates on both sides of the ball this offseason.
The Maxwell Award is awarded to the best offensive player in the country with QBs using having the edge in the competition for this award. Last year’s winner was Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Damon Hazelton: Biletnikoff Award Watch List
Damon Hazelton was the second Hokie to received recogniton as he was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) July 18, 2019
Hazelton was impressive in his first eligible season with the Hokies after transferring from Ball State as he caught 45 passes for 745 yards, 6 touchdowns, and an average of 16.6 yards per reception. That performance helped him earn All-ACC Second Team honors in his first season with the Hokies.
Hazelton is expected to be the Hokies’ top receiver in a loaded receiving corps that also includes intriguing sophomore Tre Turner; who averaged 19.8 yards per reception, starting slot WR Hezekiah Grimsley, and starting TE Dalton Keene along with lots of intriguing young talent. Hazelton is also a top candidate to earn Preseason All-ACC honors when the honorees are revealed this upcoming Monday.
The Biletnikoff Award is given to the best wide receiver in the country. Last year’s winner was Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy.
Dalton Keene: Mackey Award Watch List
Dalton Keene was the third Hokie to receive recognition after being named to the Mackey Award Watch List.
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) July 19, 2019
Keene played well as a sophomore with 28 receptions for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an average of 12.2 yards per reception. That performance earned Keene All-ACC Honorable Mention honors last season.
Keene is a top contender to earn Preseason All-ACC honors after his impressive 2018 season. The junior tight end also headlines an intriguing tight end room that also includes sophomore James Mitchell who received lots of praise from Keene at ACC Kickoff this past week.
The Mackey Award is given to the best tight end in the country. Last year’s winner was former Iowa TE TJ Hockenson.