BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb senior Tyrell Maxwell was named to the 2017 Walter Payton Award Watch List Wednesday afternoon, his second appearance in two seasons on that prestigious list.
The award, administered by STATS FCS, is given each season to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Orangeburg, S.C., native finished 24th in the voting last season for the award.
The 6-foot-2, 231-pound quarterback enters his senior season in fine shape, having covered the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.47 seconds in June – bettering his fastest time over that distance by more than one tenth of a second.
The 2016 Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year became the first trigger man to led the league in rushing yards (965) and also paced the circuit with 238.4 yards of total offense per game. He was even better in league games, going for a Big South-best 118.2 yards per game on the ground and 302.0 yards per game overall.
He also earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors at quarterback, and was a second-team Hero Sports FCS All-America selection as an athlete.
Maxwell became the first GWU quarterback since 2009 to earn first-team All-Big South Conference honors, and only the third in program history to earn that nod.
He topped the 100-yard mark rushing five times in 11 starts, breaking his own Big South record by passing and rushing for 100+ yards in five different games. He earned Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors three times, and set a new GWU single-season mark for a quarterback with 32 explosive plays.
Maxwell set new career marks in rushing, rushing touchdowns (8), passing yardage (1,657), passing touchdowns (9), attempts (235), completions (131) and completion percentage (55.7%). He also dashed for a career-best 5.7 yards per rush.
Against No. 8 Charleston Southern on November 5, Maxwell carried 23 times for 165 yards and a touchdown – and completed 21-of-29 passes for 195 yards and the game-winning score with less than 30 seconds remaining. His 52-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter changed momentum in Gardner-Webb’s eventual 17-10 victory.
In the three games he ran for 150 yards or more, Gardner-Webb went 3-0 – beating Elon (31-6), Presbyterian (24-3) and No. 8 Charleston Southern (17-10).
The former Edisto (S.C.) High star enters his senior season with 2,014 yards rushing on 420 career carries (4.8 ypc) and 15 touchdowns. He has now passed for 2,731 yards and 16 touchdowns, with the bulk of his production coming in just two full seasons as the starter under center. He ranks 11th in program history in career passing yardage and is currently eighth in career rushing.
Maxwell is one of 24 total starters – including 19 on offense and defense – returning for the 2017 season in Boiling Springs. Gardner-Webb will open the season at home, hosting North Carolina A&T at 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 2.