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Three Louisville standouts named to Maxwell Award watch list; Cunningham, Atwell and Hawkins honored

Three University of Louisville football players have been named to the watch list for the 84th Maxwell Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football.

Junior quarterback Micale Cunningham, junior wide receiver Tutu Atwell and sophomore running back Javian Hawkins have all been selected to one of college football’s most prestigious lists.

Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham passed for 2,065 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 482 yards and six more scores. (UofL photo)

Cunningham, who was named the most valuable player in last season’s Music City Bowl, is coming off a strong sophomore campaign. He started 11 of 13 games at quarterback, throwing for 2,065 yards on 112-of-179 passing with 22 touchdowns. He also rushed 122 times for 482 yards and six touchdowns. He threw for more than 200 yards in six games, including a career-high 288 yards in a 41-39 victory over Boston College.

The native of Montgomery, Ala., set the school record for passing efficiency at 194.45 and would have finished second nationally, but he didn’t have enough passing attempts to meet NCAA standards. He led the nation in passing yards per completion at 18.44 yards and was tops in passing completions of 70 and 80 yards.

Atwell led the Atlantic Coast Conference in receiving yards and set the school’s single-season mark with 1,276 yards. He also equaled a school record with 12 touchdown receptions. He knotted the school record with seven 100-yard receiving games and led the nation with four receptions of 70 or more yards.

A native of Florida, Atwell closed the season with a career-high nine receptions for 147 yards in the 2019 Music City Bowl win over Mississippi State. He also registered a career-best 152 receiving yards in a win over Syracuse last season. The 5-foot-9 speedster recorded his first three-touchdown game in a 38-21 win over Western Kentucky last year.

Hawkins is coming off a breakout 2019 season in which he was named a freshman All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree. He finished seventh nationally in rushing with 1,520 yards while guiding the Cardinals to an 8-5 record.

Louisville capped the season by posting a 38-28 win over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.

The Florida native set the school record for most rushing yards by a running back, breaking Howard Stevens’ previous mark of 1,429 yards in 1971. It was the third-most yards in a season at Louisville, behind quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 1,601 yards in 2017 and 1,571 in 2016.

Hawkins finished third in the league in rushing and tied for the ACC lead with eight 100-yard rushing games – the most in school history by a running back and second behind Jackson’s school record of 10.

The 5-foot-9 Hawkins started 12 games and grabbed ACC Rookie and Running Back of the Week honors twice during his first full season. He rushed for 233 yards – the second most in the ACC last season – in a win over Syracuse. It was the first 200-yard rushing game by a Cardinal since Lamar Jackson gained 226 against Texas A&M on Dec. 30, 2015, and the most rushing yards by a Cardinal since Anthony Allen ran for 275 against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 6, 2007.

The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.

From University of Louisville

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