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April 13, 2019. Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Ryan Willis (5) avoids the tackle attempt by linebacker Dax Hollifield (4) during the Spring Game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Willis made the Maxwell Award watch list. 

The award's leadership committee announced the 80-player list on Monday. The award is given annual to college football's player of the year. 

Willis threw for 2,716 yards (58 percent) with 24 TD passes in 2018. He took over under center for the Hokies when Josh Jackson went down with an injury in a loss to Old Dominion. He went 4-6 as a starter and helped Virginia Tech extend its bowl streak late in the season with wins over Virginia and Marshall. 

The Kansas native goes into camp as the favorite to win the starting job over Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson. Willis is two years removed from arriving to Virginia Tech as a walk-on transfer from Kansas. He's since earned a scholarship while working his way up the depth chart. 

At Kansas, Willis set freshman passing records with 1,719 yards and nine touchdowns. 

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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