BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State football standouts Zac Thomas and Darrynton Evans have made the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is given to America’s College Player of the Year, and Akeem Davis-Gaither is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award that goes to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
App State is one of just 11 programs nationally with at least two players on the Maxwell Award watch list, and it’s the only Group of Five program with that distinction. Davis-Gaither is one of 25 linebackers on the Bednarik Award watch list, which includes two Sun Belt Conference defenders.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Oct. 29.
Thomas’ QBR of 79.8 in 2018 ranks ninth nationally among returning FBS quarterbacks. The Sun Belt’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year, he completed his first season as an App State starter with 2,039 passing yards, 504 rushing yards and a combined 31 touchdowns (21 through the air).
Evans rushed for a league-leading 1,187 yards last season even though he didn’t become App State’s primary back until Game 5, and his nine touchdowns included a 100-yard kickoff return against Penn State. He averaged 6.6 yards per rush and totaled 1,764 all-purpose yards.
Davis-Gaither amassed 105 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries in 2018 for a defense that ranked fourth nationally in points allowed per game. He had the most tackles in the Sun Belt by a player from a bowl-eligible team, recorded three games with at least 14 tackles and had the eighth-most PBUs in the country among non-DBs.