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USC quarterback Cody Kessler on Maxwell Award watchlist

USC quarterback Cody Kessler on Maxwell Award watchlist
USC quarterback Cody Kessler passes during a game against Arizona State at the Coliseum on Oct. 4, 2014. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

USC quarterback Cody Kessler was named to the watchlist for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the college football player of the year.

Kessler, a fifth-year senior, passed for 39 touchdowns with only five interceptions last season.

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Kessler, from Bakersfield, will start for the third consecutive season.

Three USC players -- all tailbacks -- have won the Maxwell Award, which has been presented since 1937. O.J. Simpson won in 1968, Charles White in 1979 and Marcus Allen in 1981.

USC is set to open its season Sept. 5 against Arkansas State.

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