Cato named to Maxwell watch list
HUNTINGTON -- Last season, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato flew a bit under the radar while the Thundering Herd offense was flying high.
There will be no chance of that in the 2013 season, though.
Cato was one of 76 players named to the Maxwell Award watch list by the Maxwell Football Club in Philadelphia. The Maxwell Award is given annually to college football's top player.
Marshall's junior quarterback burst onto the scene last season, completing 69.5 percent of his passes (406-of-584) while throwing for 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions.
His 406 completions led the nation, as did his 350.1 passing yards-per-game average. He was also third in touchdown passes, fourth in completion percentage and fifth in total offense.
Cato's national standing in the passing ranks were enough to earn him the Conference USA Most Valuable Player Award for 2012. In doing so, he became the first-ever underclassmen to be named to Conference USA's top honor.
Heading into the 2013 season, there is much to be expected from Cato, who benefits from the experience of last year while returning many of his receiving weapons -- namely top target Tommy Shuler -- from a year ago.
Add in the shift in schedule due to conference realignment, and Cato has a chance for a very special season in the 2013 campaign.
Cato is the first Marshall player to be named to the Maxwell Award Watch List since the 2009 season when running back Darius Marshall was a midseason addition to the list after leading the nation in rushing through five games.
The Maxwell Award is named in honor of Robert W. "Tony" Maxwell, who contributed to the game in several facets -- as a player, sportswriter and an official. The award, which has been presented since 1937, is a member of the National College Football Awards Association, which encompasses college football's most prestigious honors.
Candidates for the preseason list have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club selection committee, and the club reserves the right to add or delete players as the season unfolds.
The semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Oct. 29 and the three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25.
The winner of the 2013 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Award show on Dec. 12 and the presentation will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala on March 7, 2014.