The Miami Hurricanes have had few players nominated on watch lists this preseason. But the one who stands out plays the most important position.
Quarterback Brad Kaaya, already named as a candidate for the Maxwell Award that goes to the top player in college at the end of the season, was one of 24 standouts named to the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award watch list on Thursday.
Kaaya was the only quarterback nominated from a Florida school.
“This year’s list, which was compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee” according to the release sent out by the Davey O’Brien Foundation, “was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2015 college football season. All nominees were required to have started at least one game at their current institution previously.’’
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Kaaya, entering his sophomore year, garnered accolades last season as one of the finest quarterbacks in the nation – ACC Rookie of the Year among them after throwing for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Kaaya threw 13 touchdowns and only three picks in the final seven weeks of the season. He was one of 15 quarterbacks in the nation to throw for more than 3,000 yards, 26 or more touchdowns and 12 or fewer interceptions – and the only true freshman QB in the nation to do so.
His final 2014 numbers: 221 completions in 378 attempts for 3,198 yards and the 26 touchdowns. He threw 12 interceptions.
Kaaya averaged 248 yards a game.
The Canes, who start the 2015 season at home Sept. 5 against Bethune-Cookman, are looking to improve on a disappointing 6-7 record last year.
The other ACC quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien watch list, each of whom the Canes will face in 2015, are Georgia Tech junior Justin Thomas, Clemson sophomore Deshaun Watson and North Carolina senior Marquise Williams.
Miami will also face Davey O’Brien candidate Gunner Kiel of Cincinnati.
Other UM standouts nominated for preseason awards are middle linebacker Raphael Kirby (Butkus), punter Justin Vogel (Ray Guy) and safety Dallas Crawford (Wuerffel Trophy for community service).