July 5, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Indiana - University of Notre Dame senior quarterback Malik Zaire and junior quarterback DeShone Kizer were two of the 90 players named to the 2016 Maxwell Award Watch List, announced Tuesday by the Maxwell Football Club. Zaire and Kizer were two of the 33 quarterbacks to make the list and the only quarterbacking tandem.
Zaire (Kettering, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) started the first two games of the 2015 season (vs. Texas, Sept. 5; at Virginia, Sept. 12) before a broken ankle ended his campaign. He completed 26-of-40 passes for 428 yards and four TDs. Zaire also rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. He registered six completions of at least 20 yards and three of at least 30 yards.
Zaire completed 19-of-22 passes (86.4%) for 313 yards and three TDs in last year’s season-opening rout of the Longhorns. He became just the fifth Notre Dame player to throw for at least 300 yards in a season opener. Zaire’s 86.4% completion percentage against Texas ranks second in school history for a single game and the best since 1984.
Kizer (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) played in all 13 games in 2015, starting each of the final 11 contests. He completed 211-of-335 passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season as a starter. Kizer recorded 10 rushing TDs, which broke the single-season school record for quarterbacks. He ranked 12th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing TDs by a quarterback (10), 17th in passing yards per attempt (8.61), 22nd in points responsible for per game (14.9), 24th in passing efficiency (150.0) and 25th in passing yards per completion (13.67). He ranked among the top-five in the following single-season school records: fourth in rushing yards by quarterback (520), fourth in completion percentage (63.0), fourth in points responsibility (188), fifth in total offense (3,404) and fifth in points responsibility per game (14.5).
Kizer, who helped the Irish to three wins when trailing in the fourth quarter (Virginia, USC and Temple), tossed five TD passes at Pittsburgh (Nov. 7). The mark tied for the second-most in single-game school history and matched a school road-game record. He accounted for 36 points against the Panthers (five passing TDs and one rushing TD), which tied for the second-most in school history and set a road-game school record.
Notre Dame players have previously won the Maxwell Award seven times, tying Penn State for the most honorees of any school in the nation. Past Irish recipients include Leon Hart (1949), John Lattner (1952 and 1953), Jim Lynch (1966), Ross Browner (1977), Brady Quinn (2006) and Manti Te’o (2012).
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell's contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced October 31, 2016, while the three finalists will be unveiled November 21, 2016. The winner of the 2016 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, 2016. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 10, 2017.