A pair of Notre Dame seniors who Notre Dame fans hope connect early and often on the field this year, Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd, have been named to the Maxwell Award watch list heading into the 2011 season.
Crist started the first nine games of the 2010 season before rupturing a patella tendon in his knee in the early goings against Tulsa, his second major knee injury in as many years. Prior to the injury Crist had an up and down first season as a starting quarterback for Notre Dame putting up solid numbers but struggling at times with his decision making and consistency. Before the injury Crist completed 174 of 294 passes for 2,033 yards (59.2%) with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Crist’s completion percentage and turnover numbers were more than solid for a first time starting quarterback, but it was the throws that he didn’t make that cost him. Crist often held onto the ball too long resulting in 16 sacks through just over 8 games and missed opportunities from Crist not pushing the ball down field. Crist was just starting to get to the point where he was trusting his receivers to make the tough catches more and more before suffering his latest set back.
Despite the injury, Floyd surprised people for the second year in a row by recovering in time to fully participate in spring practice. The injury though opened the for Tommy Rees who led Notre Dame to four straight wins to end the season to stake his claim to the starting job. Most reports indicate that Crist is in the driver’s seat for the starting role heading into fall camp, but he’ll need to hold off Rees and Sophmore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson this summer in order to be under center when South Florida travels to South Bend to kick off the season.
Floyd meanwhile has had his own tumultuous off-season. After deciding to comeback to Notre Dame for his senior season instead of opting for the NFL, Floyd was picked up for a DUI before spring practice. Floyd’s path to reinstatement has been well documented here and elsewhere this off-season and it looks as though Floyd is close to being reinstated after he entered into a plea agreement last week that included a year of probation.
If (when?) Floyd is reinstated, he’ll be one of the best wide receivers in the country again this season and will end up owning most, if not all of the Notre Dame career receiving records that he doesn’t already own. That is, if injuries do not derail his season as they did in both 2008 and 2009. Last season was Floyd’s healthiest at Notre Dame though he did miss the Navy game.
The last Notre Dame player to win the Maxwell Award was Brady Quinn in 2006. Both Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen were among 16 finalists for the award two years ago as well. Other past Notre Dame winners include Ross Browner (1977), Jim Lynch (1966), John Lattner (1952 & 1953), and Leon Hart (1949).
Notre Dame will face 10 Maxwell Watch List players from seven different teams:
- Michigan State – Edwin Baker (RB), Kirk Cousins (QB)
- USC – Matt Barkley (QB), Robert Woods (WR)
- Pittsburgh – Ray Graham (RB)
- Boston College – Montel Harris (RB)
- Stanford – Andrew Luck (QB), Stepfan Taylor (RB)
- Maryland – Danny O’Brien (QB)
- Michigan – Denard Robinson (QB)
The full Maxwell Watch list features 66 players and can be found on the Maxwell Football Club’s website.