The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four players — two on offense and two on defense — were nominated for major awards Monday.
Junior running back Travis Homer and junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards were nominated for the Maxwell Award, while senior safety Jaquan Johnson and junior linebacker Shaquille Quarterman were named players to watch for the Bednarik Award.
Johnson and Richards head with coach Mark Richt to the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff — the league’s media days — on Wednesday to represent the Canes.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
Homer saw action in all 13 games a season ago, but took over starting duties four games into the year after Mark Walton sustained a season-ending injury. Homer rushed for 966 yards on 163 attempts, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and finishing with eight rushing touchdowns. The West Palm Beach native, who was selected to the All-ACC second team in 2017, compiled 1,203 all-purpose yards and three 100-yard rushing games.
A consensus freshman All-America and an All-ACC selection two seasons ago, Richards dominated in 2016 when he set the Miami freshman record for receiving yards — breaking the mark set by Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin. Because of a severe hamstring injury and a knee injury that required surgery, Richards played in just eight games last season, nonetheless amassing 439 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his limited playing time. In 21 career games, Richards has totaled 73 receptions, 1,373 receiving yards and six touchdown catches.
And Johnson, a Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist, decided to return for his senior season after being named a second-team All-America by Sports Illustrated and the AFCA in 2017. He led the Hurricanes with 96 total tackles a season ago and also tied for the team lead with four interceptions. Johnson has totaled 160 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six interceptions in 39 career games and has not missed a game since arriving to Coral Gables in January 2015.
“I wanted to get my degree, but most importantly I wanted to play with my brothers for my final year,’‘ said Johnson in May. “You develop, you understand the game more. Things start to slow down. ...You get stronger. You get faster... You want to see things through.
“We have a great thing going here, and I want to be a part of it.’’
A freshman All-America and All-ACC selection two seasons ago, Quarterman has been a key contributor for Miami since arriving on campus as a midyear enrollee in January of 2016. The Orange Park native has started all 26 games since arriving on campus and in just two seasons has piled up 167 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, six passes defended and two fumble recoveries. He was named a second-team All-ACC selection as a sophomore.
The Miami Hurricanes have had three Maxwell Award winners and one Bednarik winner in program history; quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde (1986), Gino Torretta (1992) and Ken Dorsey (2001) have each captured the Maxwell Award, while linebacker Dan Morgan (2000) is Miami’s only Bednarik Award recipient.