To absolutely no one’s surprise, Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault, Jr. have been named to preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to the most outstanding offensive player in college football. Montez was also nominate for the Davey O’Brien award for the nation’s best quarterback.
Shenault had to have been one of the first five or ten names on that watch list. Viska has to be the most talented receiver in the nation, considering size, speed and catching ability. He’s also absurdly productive — partly because Montez force feeds him, and partly because the coaching staff runs him into the ground. All told, his first year starting was phenomenal as he had 86 catches for 1,011 yards and 11 total touchdowns, all despite battling injuries, missing 3 games (plus more time) and being the central focus of every defensive gameplan. Now if CU can give him a breather and involve other players, we can see what a fully healthy Shenault can do.
As for Montez, the sky is the limit if he reaches his potential. He’s quick, accurate and has a cannon for an arm, it’s just that his vision and pocket presence can be dicey. It’s also going to be interesting to see what happens now that Kurt Roper is at NC State — the two were very close and worked well together. Montez should be in a position to succeed (depending on the offensive line) mostly because he has one of the best receiving corps in the country. In his fifth year on campus and his third year starting, Montez could finally break out.
The Biletnikoff Award Watch List will be announced Thursday. Shenault is projected as one of the favorites to win the award recognizing college football’s most outstanding receiver regardless of position. Any player (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a forward pass is eligible for the award. Viska goes up against Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, who returns after winning the award in 2018. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon hails as the only two-time Biletnikoff winner (2010 & 2011) since the award’s inception in 1994.
Lastly, the Walter Camp (best player) watch list will be announced on Friday, July 26 and is likely to feature Shenault. The nation’s fourth-oldest individual accolade has recognized college football’s player of the year going back to USC’s O.J. Simpson in 1967.