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Mariota, Winston among 16 Maxwell Award semifinalists

One of the most prestigious awards in college football -- arguably the most prestigious outside of the Heisman Trophy -- announced its semifinalists Tuesday morning and, as expected, it’s a who’s who of the 2013 season.

Headlining the group of 16 players named as Maxwell Award semifinalists are the two who have emerged as the front-runners for this year’s Heisman, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Additionally, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, a finalist for the 2012 version of the award, is included in this year’s group.

Alabama’s AJ McCarron is the only other 2012 semifinalist represented on this year’s list.

Those four are among the 10 semifinalists who come from the quarterback position. There are four running backs (Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk) and two wide receivers (Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans) as well.

Interestingly, there are only four senior semifinalists: McCarron, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Georgia’s Aaron Murray. There are as many sophomores -- Evans, Gordon, Manziel, Mariota -- as there are seniors.

Winston is the only freshman among the group of 16.

Baylor, Oregon State and Texas A&M are the only teams with more than one semifinalist. The Pac-12 (five) and SEC (four) lead all conferences.

The Maxwell Award, handed out every year since 1937 to the nation’s best player, went to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o last season.

2013 Maxwell Award Semifinalists