The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell's contributions to the game of football were extensive, including his time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.
Miami is one of just 21 schools at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two players on the Maxwell Award Watch List.
Kaaya earned the preseason recognition thanks to a strong sophomore season in which he threw for over 3,000 yards for the second straight year, passed for 16 touchdowns and had just five interceptions. Kaaya was one of just three players nationally to throw for 3,000-or-more yards, 10-or-more touchdowns and five-or-fewer interceptions.
Following the 2015 season, Kaaya earned All-ACC Third Team honors by the coaches and Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. The Los Angeles native enters his junior season with 6,436 career-passing yards and stands fifth on the all-time list at Miami. He needs just 3,130 yards to become the Hurricanes’ all-time passing leader.
Yearby’s preseason recognition came following a breakout 2015 campaign where he rushed for over 1,000 yards (1,002) and had eight total touchdowns (six rushing, two receiving). Yearby averaged 4.9 yards per carry and had 77.1 yards per game. He also ranked fourth on the team with 23 receptions.
Yearby finished the year as one of just four Hurricanes that started in every game during the 2015 campaign. Following the year, the Miami native was named All-ACC Third Team by the coaches and honorable mention by ACSMA.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Oct. 31, 2016, while the three finalists for the award will be unveiled November 21, 2016. The winners of the 2016 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, 2016. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 10, 2017.