With the start of the 2019 college football season just over a month away it's time to start paying attention to preseason watch lists. With several talented and experienced players returning, Penn State figures to be well-represented on the early season award lists. Linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos have already been named to the Bednarik Award watch list.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver KJ Hamler is listed among the best players in all of college football, landing on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award. The award is given annually to the best all-around player in the country.
Hamler enjoyed a breakout season as a redshirt freshman last year and is primed for even bigger things in 2019. He showed himself to be a dangerous weapon both on offense and on special teams.
Starting in 13 games a season ago, Hamler led the Nittany Lions in receptions (42), and receiving yards (713). His five touchdown receptions ranked second on the team. He also added three rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Hamler served as the primary kickoff returner, racking up 523 yards on 21 returns, and added 14 punt returns for 96 yards. His 26.2 yard average on kick returns ranked third in the conference and 18th in the country.
With all of the ways the coaching staff found to get Hamler the ball, it is no surprise that he broke the Penn State freshman record for all-purpose yards, held previously by some guy named Barkley, with 1,417 total yards.
Don't be surprised to hear Hamler's name tossed around for several awards as the season progresses.
Seven Nittany Lions have won the Maxwell Award. The most recent came in 2002 with running back Larry Johnson.