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Among a Utah receiving corps that underwhelmed last year, Dres Anderson stood out.
This fall, it seems the college football community is expecting an encore performance.
Anderson was one of 76 athletes named to the watchlist for the Maxwell Award, bestowed annually to the best player in college football. The Pac-12 landed 15 other players on the list, released Monday morning.
Preseason watchlists, which the National College Football Awards will roll out for the next two weeks, aren't usually the best indicator of in-season success. Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston didn't exactly have a ton of preseason hype leading into their Heisman seasons.
But watchlists do show expectations: Anderson is expected to be among the top receivers in the country this fall after going over the 1,000-yard mark and leading the Pac-12 in yards per catch (18.91) in 2013. Anderson was unsurprisingly a clear standout in the spring, not dropping a lot of passes during camp.
The receiving unit as a whole is looking to grow - with Kenneth Scott healthy and a few new pieces thrown into the mix - but Anderson is a definite proven performer. The Utes hope some of their other weapons will take some heat off Anderson in coverage.
Arizona's Austin Hill, ASU's Jalen Strong, Stanford's Ty Montgomery, and USC's Nelson Agholor were the other Pac-12 receivers to make the cut.
In 10 of the last 11 years, the Maxwell Award has gone to a quarterback. Seven Pac-12 quarterbacks made the list: Arizona State's Taylor Kelly, Cal's Jared Goff, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Oregon State's Sean Mannion, Stanford's Kevin Hogan, UCLA's Brett Hundley, and USC's Cody Kessler.
The NCFAA also released a watchlist for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the best defensive player in the country. No Utes were listed, although some may make the lists for the upcoming position award watchlists.
No Ute has ever won the Maxwell or Bednarik awards.
Watchlists for the John Mackey Award (best tight end) and Rimington Award (best center) come out on Tuesday.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon