Kansas State’s Skylar Thompson, Deuce Vaughn featured on 2021 Maxwell Award watch list

Skylar Thompson and Deuce Vaughn are representing the Kansas State football team on the 2021 Maxwell Award watch list.

The preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, annually given to the nation’s top college football player, was released July 19, and included two Kansas State football players.

Quarterback Skylar Thompson and running back/offensive weapon Deuce Vaughn are the first pair of Wildcats on the preseason list since 2014. That year, quarterback Jake Waters and Tyler Locket represented Kansas State on the list.

Thompson, a senior from Independence, Missouri, is no stranger to preseason accolades.

He was named to the Maxwell Award, Manning Award, and Wuerffel Trophy watch lists in 2020. That season was derailed due to injuries that limited him to the first three games of the season. Head coach Chris Kliemanrecently spoke on Thompson’s recovery, saying “he’s cut loose for everything.”

Thompson holds several rankings in career categories, leading all Kansas State quarterbacks in interception percentage (1.84), and seventh in passing yards (5,201) and passing touchdowns (30).

While Thompson’s time in Manhattan is coming to an end, Vaughn’s is just beginning.

Kansas State football: Skylar Thompson and Deuce Vaughn represent Wildcats on Maxwell Award watch list

Vaughn, a sophomore from Round Rock, Tx., was the Wildcat’s brightest star in a 4-6 2020 season. He earned Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and a spot on The Athletic‘s Freshman All-American team.

Vaughn joined 2021 1st round picks Najee Harris and Travis Etienne as the only players to reach at least 600 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in 2020. He enters the 2021 season with high expectations, despite his 5’6″ frame.

The Wildcats enter the season with low expectations, a common beginning for the team despite recent years of success. Junior kick returner Phillip Brooks, a junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo., is the only Kansas State player listed on the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team. Thompson returns to the Wildcats in pursuit of a final successful season.

Kansas State begins the season in the Allstate Kickoff Classic against Stanford in AT&T Stadium. The game, on Sept. 4 in Austin Tx., marks the beginning of the college football season. The two teams only played once previously in 2016, with the Wildcats losing 13-26.