Camerun Peoples

Camerun Peoples is one of three Mountaineers who were named to national award watch lists.

BOONE — For the second straight year, Appalachian State defensive end Demetrius Taylor and cornerback Shaun Jolly have been named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, presented to the top defensive player in college football.

Additionally, running back Camerun Peoples was named to the watch list for the 2021 Maxwell Award, which recognizes the most outstanding player in college football.

App State has at least one Bednarik candidate for the third straight year and is one of just four Group of Five programs with multiple watch list selections this year. The others are Central Michigan, Cincinnati and San Diego State.

In his two seasons as a starter and first-team All-Sun Belt selection, Taylor posted 84 tackles, 26.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and nine passes defended (with one interception). His 19.5 career sacks rank fourth among active FBS players, and he has also totaled 35.5 tackles for loss in his career.

Jolly has received All-America recognition in each of his first two years as a starter, with PFF College naming him a second-team All-American to end a five-interception campaign in 2019 and Phil Steele naming him an Honorable Mention All-American in 2020.

Also a first-team All-Sun Belt pick in 2019 and 2020, Jolly has recorded 19 passes defended and 86 tackles in his two years as a starter.

The Maxwell Football Club announced the watch list candidates for the award named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 15 career games, Peoples has totaled 1,311 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Despite making just five starts last season, he rushed for a league-high 1,124 yards (10th nationally) with 12 touchdowns (13th nationally) and averaged 6.7 yards per rush, making him one of just 14 players nationally to rush for 500-plus yards with a per-carry average that high.

In his first full season after redshirting in 2018 and missing almost the entire 2019 season because of an injury, 2020 saw Peoples tie Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson for the FBS lead in rushes of 50 or more yards (five) and led the nation with four rushes of 60-plus yards.

With App State looking to make it nine-straight years producing a 1,000-yard rusher — now the longest streak among FBS programs — Peoples reached that plateau by running for an NCAA bowl-record 317 yards and five touchdowns on just 22 carries in the Myrtle Beach Bowl victory against North Texas.

The Maxwell Award has been presented to the national college player of the year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.

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