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Rutgers’ Janarion Grant nominated to Maxwell Award watch list

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NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Janarion Grant may be the reason to watch Rutgers football in 2017.

The redshirt senior was named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list. Grant returns as the nation’s active career leader in combined punt and kick return yardage with 3,086.

The 81st annual 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.

Last season, the Maxwell Award went to Lamar Jackson, Louisville’s quarterback who also won the Heisman trophy.

Grant was in the midst of a record-breaking season in 2016 when suffered an injury to his right leg in the second quarter against the Hawkeyes. That pretty much marked the high and low water mark for the Knights as the offense never regained its footing without the dynamic playmaker on the field. In the first four games, he accounted for six total touchdowns, including a passing score. A three-time Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week, Grant scored both a kick and punt return touchdown in 2016.

In 42 consecutive game appearances, Grant has amassed 270 rushing yards and 895 receiving. He is fourth all-time in the Rutgers record books with 4,251 all-purpose yards and first with 2,606 kickoff return yards. Grant is tied for first in NCAA FBS history with eight career combined kick return touchdowns (five kickoff, three punt).

Voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA Head College Football Coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club & sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country