(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming football linebacker Chad Muma and running back Xazavian Valladay are early candidates for a pair of national college football awards.
The Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday its 2021 Watch List for the 27th Chuck Bednarik Award powered by Mammoth Tech. The Bednarik Award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football. Among the players named to this year’s watch list is University of Wyoming junior linebacker Chad Muma. This is the first time in his career that Muma has been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List.
Mammoth Tech and The Athletes’ Corner are both Executive Partners of the Maxwell Football Club. The Maxwell Football Club has also once again partnered with Pro Football Focus (PFF), XOS ThunderCloud and Phil Steele Publications as selection committee partners.
The Chuck Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ‘69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ‘67.
Muma made his mark as one of the nation’s top defenders in 2020. He ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in tackles, averaging 11.8 tackles per game. He also ranked No. 16 in the nation in solo tackles, averaging 5.5 per game. The junior was selected First Team All-Mountain West by MW head coaches and media in 2020.
He began the 2020 season with a career high 14 total tackles and a career best 10 solo tackles against Nevada in the season opener. Muma added seven tackles in Week 2 vs. Hawai’i, and set a new career tackle best with 18 tackles at Colorado State in Week 3. He had his third double-figure tackle game of the season at UNLV in Week 4, with 10 total tackles, and added 10 in one half of play at New Mexico. Muma concluded the 2020 season with 13 tackles vs. Boise State.
The winner of the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 9, 2021.
The Maxwell Football Club announced its 2021 Watch List for the Maxwell Award presented annually to the outstanding player in college football. Among the players named to this year’s watch list is University of Wyoming junior running back Xazavian Valladay. It marks the second consecutive season that Valladay has been named to the Maxwell Award Watch List.
Since 1937, the Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year. It is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at Swarthmore College who went on to become a well-known sportswriter and football official.
Valladay has been a First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection each of the past two seasons. He led the Mountain West in rushing yards per game in both 2019 (105.4 per game) and 2020 (110.0 per game) and ranked 18th nationally in 2019 and 17th in 2020. In the five games he played in 2020, Valladay also averaged 131.00 all-purpose yards to rank 27th in the country. In 2019, he recorded his first 1,000-yard rushing season, with 1,265 yards to lead the Mountain West. The native of Matteson, Ill., also led the MW in all-purpose yards in 2019 and ranked No. 26 in the nation, averaging 124.08 yards per game.
Valladay had two 100-yard rushing games in the five he played in 2020. He ran for 163 yards against Hawai’i and 147 at Colorado State. The 2019 season saw Valladay rush for 100 or more yards seven times in the 12 games he played, and he rushed for over 200 yards twice. His best games were 206 rushing yards vs. Nevada and 204 against Georgia State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. His other five 100-yard rushing games included: 118 vs. Missouri, 127 vs. New Mexico, 124 at Boise State, 114 at Utah State and 154 vs. Colorado State.
His 204-yard performance in Wyoming’s 38-17 Arizona Bowl victory earned Valladay a spot on the 2019 Associated Press All-Bowl Team. He also caught three passes for 91 yards in the bowl win and scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving while accounting for 295 all-purpose yards. Valladay was one of only three running backs in the nation named to the AP All-Bowl Team, joining Penn State’s Journey Brown and Florida’s Lamical Perine.
Semifinalists for the 2021 Maxwell Award will be announced Nov. 1, 2021, while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled Nov. 22. The winner of the 2021 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 9, 2021. The formal presentations of the Maxwell Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2022.