It's July, which means its time for the "watch lists" for several of the major college awards to be released. At this stage in the game, it's almost more surprising if a notable player at a position doesn't appear on these watch lists, as several dozen names show up among the preliminary group.
Nevertheless, it's always encouraging when an Arizona State Sun Devil is able to make the grade. While the usual suspects from USC, the Big-12 and the SEC powers were all over Monday's releases of the Maxwell (best player) and Bednarik (best defensive player) watch lists, there was a bit of maroon and gold to be found.
ASU senior running back Cameron Marshall was one of the 64 players--30 of whom are running backs--named to the initial Maxwell Award watch list. While the chances of Marshall--no matter how good a season he puts together--actually winning the award against the likes of the Matt Barkleys and Marcus Lattimores of the college football world are slim, it is a great sign to see Marshall receiving some long overdue national love. Marshall will likely also be named to the Doak Walker Award watch list when it is released on July 19th, an honor he also received last year.
Marshall's talent and production will never receive the national attention that they deserve during his Sun Devil career, but that clearly does not matter one bit. Over the last two seasons, Marshall has shown off his NFL-caliber talent and is quietly putting up the numbers to eventually rank among ASU's best.
After his 1,050 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, Marshall is within reasonable striking distance of some hallowed records. With 29 rushing touchdowns already in his career, Marshall needs just 11 more to pass the legendary Woody Green for tops on ASU's all-time list. While Green's yardage record (4,188) is likely safe, Marshall is just 1,169 yards shy of passing J.R. Redmond for third on the school's list (3,299).
When it is all said and done, with whatever lofty positions on various lists he claims, Marshall may be one of those players that has a better pro career than a collegiate one.
He is well built at 5'11", 223 pounds and has shown tremendous power running ability, yet he also has the breakaway speed to complete his skillset. That package should prove to be very attractive to NFL teams come next April's draft, even with the lowered value the position has shown in the league.