The Maxwell Football Club announced today that Susquehanna University Head Coach Tom Perkovich has been selected as the winner of the Club’s 25th Andy Talley Regional Coach of the Year Award and that Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has been chosen as the winner of the 22nd Brian Westbrook Regional Player of the Year Award.
Under Perkovich’s direction, Susquehanna compiled an 10-1 record and won their 1st Centennial Conference championship. The River Hawks claimed decisive wins over Dickinson, Gettysburg, Lycoming and Moravian, and exhilarating nail-biters over Johns Hopkins and Muhlenberg, leading up to their first appearance in the NCAA DIII Football Championships since 2009. They concluded the 2022 campaign ranked No.19 in the final Division 3 national poll.
Clifford led the Nittany Lions to a 11-2 mark in 2022 with an exciting 35-21 Rose Bowl win over Utah serving as an exclamation point to an outstanding season. Clifford’s Rose Bowl performance was one of the finest of his Penn State career and earned him game MVP honors. Clifford finished the Granddaddy of them all 16-of-22 for 279 yards, and 2 touchdowns. For the season, Clifford passed for 3107 yards and 21 touchdowns. A four-time team captain who used COVID eligibility for an extra college campaign, Clifford sits atop program record lists for most career passing statistics, and he will next pursue opportunities in the NFL.
Clifford's departure opens the door for his replacement, Drew Allar, to receive alot of love, and according to the latest odds on the FanDuel Sportsbook, he is among the favorites for the for the 2023 Heisman, along with Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis and UNC quarterback Drake Maye.
Caleb Williams, the 2022 Heisman winner, returns at quarterback for USC and has a huge lead over all of the other early candidates. However Michael Penix, Jr. who returns at QB for Washington, is also getting a lot of early Heisman wagering love.
Perkovich and Clifford will be honored Thursday March 9, 2023 at the 86th Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala which will be held at the Mohegan Pennsylvania. Also receiving awards at this event will be Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles (Bert Bell Award), Nick Sirianni – Philadelphia Eagles (Greasy Neale Coach of the Year Award), Joe Klecko (Legends Award presented by Mohegan Pennsylvania), Caleb Williams - USC (Maxwell Award), Will Anderson Jr. - Alabama (Chuck Bednarik Award), Drake Maye –North Carolina (Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award), and Willie Fritz –Tulane University (George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award). The Club will be announcing additional winners this week.
Additionally, Caleb Downs from Mill Creek High School (Hoschton, Georgia) has been selected as the 2022 Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the Year. This is the 16th year that this award will be presented at the Maxwell Club National Awards Gala, and the Alabama signee joins the likes of Derrick Henry (2012), Trevor Lawrence (2017) and Bryce Young (2019) as winners of the honor over the past decade. Downs joins that list after leading Mill Creek to a 14-1 record, the AAAAAAA state championship and the No. 11 spot in the final MaxPreps Top 25.
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior safety helped the Hawks win their first state title in school history. Mill Creek broke the championship game record in a 70-35 victory over Carrollton, a contest where Downs recorded 13 tackles and tacked on three rushing scores. Downs closed out his illustrious high school career with 83 tackles, five interceptions (two pick-sixes), 10 passes defended and one fumble recovery. Offensively, he added 57 carries for 389 yards and 20 touchdowns to go with 36 receptions for 422 yards and three scores.
“Leadership, innovation and an indisputable drive to be the best are attributes that Caleb exhibits,” said Mark Wolpert, Executive Director of the Maxwell Football Club “We got to see the leadership and camaraderie that Caleb shared with his teammates both on and off the field during the 2023 All American Bowl game and we are excited to name this outstanding young man as the Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the Year.”
The Maxwell Football Club National HS Player of the Year award was established in 2007 and former winners include Nicholas Singleton (Offense – Governor Mifflin HS – Penn State), Mykel Williams (Defense – Hardaway HS – Georgia), Ty Thompson (Offense – Mesquite HS – Oregon), Barrett Carter (North Gwinnett HS – Clemson), Bryce Young (Offense – Mater Dei HS – Alabama), Bryan Bresee (Defense – Damascus HS – Clemson), Bru McCoy (Offense – Mater Dei HS – Tennessee), Nolan Smith (Defense – IMG Academy – Georgia), Trevor Lawrence (Offense – Cartersville HS – Clemson), Taron Vincent (Defense -IMG Academy – Ohio State), Tate Martell (Bishop Gorman HS – Ohio State), Jacob Eason (2015 Lake Stevens HS – Washington), Trenton Thompson (2014 Westover HS – Georgia), Will Grier (2013 Davidson Day School – West Virginia), Derrick Henry (2012 Yulee HS – Alabama), Noah Spence (2011 Bishop McDevitt HS – Ohio State), Jeff Driskel (2010 Hagerty HS – Florida), Sharif Floyd (2009 George Washington HS - Florida), Jamarkus McFarland (2008 Lufkin HS - Oklahoma) and DeVier Posey (2007 Cincinnati LaSalle HS – Ohio State). Henry and Young went on to win the Maxwell Award while at Alabama.