PHILADELPHIA – The 2021 football season is right around the corner and two of the top college football individual awards – The Maxwell Award and Chuck Bednarik Award – announced their preseason watch lists today. Four Cyclones made the cut.
The Cyclones are represented by four players as senior quarterback Brock Purdy and junior running back Breece Hall are on the Maxwell Award watch list, while senior linebacker Mike Rose and junior defensive end Will McDonald IV were named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and the Chuck Bednarik Award goes to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
Hall is one of six returning semifinalists for the Maxwell Award.
Hall, who became the first unanimous All-American in Iowa State history in 2020, finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting and was one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award in 2020.
A native of Wichita, Kan., Hall returns for his junior season as one of the best ballcarriers in the nation. The 2020 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year led the nation in rushing yards (1,572), 100-yard rushing games (9) and consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (12) in 2020.
He also set or matched five Iowa State season records: touchdowns (23), rushing touchdowns (21), scoring (138), multi-TD rush games (8) and consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (12).
Hall busted out 20+ yard runs 14 times last year and has just one lost fumble in 511 career touches. He also caught 23 passes for 180 yards a year ago.
Purdy has set virtually every passing record in Iowa State history in his first three years as a starter. He’s a three-time All-Big 12 recipient, including earning first team accolades in 2020.
The Gilbert, Ariz., native had another fantastic campaign in 2020, throwing for 2,750 yards and 19 touchdowns, both totals ranking in ISU’s season top-five record lists. He also set a school record in completion percentage at 66.6 percent.
Purdy owns or shares 25 school records in his tremendous career, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment is his impact on winning.
He led the Cyclones to their first-ever New Year’s Six bowl in a 34-17 victory over Oregon at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, a game where he earned Offensive MVP honors.
He has the most QB wins in Iowa State history (23) and is 19-7 vs. Big 12 competition in the regular season. Purdy has a victory over every team in the Big 12 and is 12-1 as the starting quarterback vs. Big 12 teams in Jack Trice Stadium.
A senior from Brecksville, Ohio, Rose was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team recipient in 2020 while leading the Cyclones to win over Oregon in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
Rose, who has started all 38 games in his outstanding career, was named to multiple All-America teams in 2020 and has earned All-Big 12 recognition in each of his three seasons in Ames.
This past year, Rose had the most tackles in the Big 12 (96) and was credited with 10.5 TFL, ranking third on the team. The Cyclone star also led all NCAA linebackers nationally with five interceptions, the most by a Cyclone linebacker in school history.
Two of his interceptions occurred late in the fourth quarter while securing victories for the Cyclones (TCU, Baylor).
Rose will enter his senior year with 248 tackles and 29.0 TFL, ranking 10th all-time in school history.
McDonald IV, a Pewaukee, Wis., native, has developed into one of the most dominant pass-rushers in college football despite never starting a game in his career.
McDonald IV was a First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2020 after leading the Big 12 and tying for first nationally in overall sacks at 10.5, setting a new ISU single-season record. He also recorded 33 tackles and ranked fourth in the league in TFL (13.5).
McDonald IV tallied at list a 0.5 sack in nine of 12 games played last year and his 17.5 career sacks ranks third in school history.