ASU Football recently learned that two players have been put on the watch list for the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award.
The Maxwell Award is a yearly award presented to the College Football Player of the Year, last year’s recipient was Derrick Henry from Alabama.
The Bednarik Award is a yearly award presented to the College Football Defensive Player of the Year, last year’s recipient was Tyler Matakevich from Temple.
Richard’s selection to the Maxwell Award watch list marks four straight seasons that an ASU player has appeared on the watch list.
In the past four seasons nine Sun Devils have appeared on the watch list, making ASU consistently a high-profile program under coach Todd Graham.
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Both Richard and Fiso have strong resumes to support their selections onto the Maxwell and Bednarik watch lists.
Last season, Richard rushed for 1,407 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 92 yards per game.
While Richard is a solid running back and deserves his selection on the watch list, he also is a product of the Sun Devils’ offensive game plan.
By being a running back in an offense that runs the ball over 50% of the time, your stats may be inflated.
Where Richard proves that he is a good running back who isn’t just a product of the system he is in, his yards after contact. Out of his 1,407 yards, 648 came after contact.
Nearly half his rushing yards came after contact, something that isn’t easily done.
On the other side of the ball, Fiso is a force to be reckoned with.
Last season Fiso racked up 78 solo tackles and 20 tackles for a loss.
Those 20 tackles for a loss were good enough for eighth best in the country, while his 78 solo tackles were good enough for 12th best in the country.
If both of these players build on strong 2015 campaigns, then we might see a Sun Devil as the best player (or defensive player) in the nation for 2016.