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Pitt sophomores Boyd and Conner named to Maxwell and Hornung Award watch lists

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The University of Pittsburgh Athletic Dept. announced today that sophomore wide receiver Tyler Boyd and sophomore running back James Conner were both placed on the Maxwell Award and Paul Hornung Award preseason watch lists.

Boyd was the top freshman receiver in the country last year after catching 85 passes for 1,174 yards for a 13.8 yards-per-catch average, and seven touchdowns. It was also the best freshman receiver performance in Pitt history, surpassing former Panther great Larry Fitzgerald’s freshman records for receptions and yardage. He earned a starting wide receiver spot as a true freshman.

Last season, Conner was the first freshman to lead the Panthers in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (8) since NFL’er Dion Lewis set the mark in 2009. Conner had 146 carries last season and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. He missed one game (Oct. 19 against Old Dominion) due to injury.

Boyd and Conner teamed up to lead the Panthers to a 30-27 win over Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to cap off last season. Boyd gained 242 all-purpose yards on 8 catches for (career-high) 173 yards (21.6 avg.) which was a Pitt bowl record. He also returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown. It was the Panthers’ first punt return for a touchdown since Darelle Revis returned a punt 73 yards for a score in 2006 against West Virginia.

Conner earned the Bowl MVP honors. He rushed for 229 yards (8.8 avg.) and a touchdown against Bowling Green. He set the Pitt bowl rushing yardage record with the performance, passing former Panther great Tony Dorsett’s 202-yard performance against Georgia in the 1977 Sugar Bowl (National Championship Game). If that was not enough, he also played some at defensive end late in the game and drew a holding penalty on the Falcon’s last possession.

The Maxwell Award is given to college football’s Player of the Year. It is names after Robert Maxwell and has been awarded each year by the Maxwell Football Club in Philadelphia since 1937. Two former Panthers won the award in the past—running back Tony Dorsett in 1976 and defensive end Hugh Green in 1980.

The Paul Hornung award is given to college football’s most-versatile player. It is named after the former Notre Dame and Green Bay Packer player and has been awarded each year by the Louisville Sports Commission since 2010. Overall, 47 players were named to the Hornung watch list. Boyd and Conner are two of only 13 sophomores placed on the list.

for more info: Pitt web site

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