Luke Johnson: After the lost season of 2015, Cajuns would be wise to keep those disappointing memories in mind as they move forward _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- The Cajuns' Elijah McGuire (15) is brought down by Troy defender Darrin Reddick (9) on Saturday in Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE — For the second consecutive year, Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire landed on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award.

The Maxwell Award has been given annually to college football’s Player of the Year since 1937. It has never gone to a player from a Louisiana college or university.

With opposing defenses focused on stopping him, McGuire had a down year by his standards in 2015, but he still eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards and averaged 5 yards per carry.

He became the second player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Tyrell Fenroy, and the first running back in school history to record 100 career receptions.

Going into his senior season, McGuire is third on the Cajuns’ all-time rushing list, behind Fenroy and Brian Mitchell. He needs 1,462 rushing yards to surpass Fenroy as the school’s all-time leader.

The Houma native could also crack the school’s top-10 in career receiving yards if he picks up 487 yards through the air this season. McGuire’s career high in receiving yards is 468.

McGuire is the only active college football player with both 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his career.

McGuire was one of four Sun Belt Conference running backs on the list, which was released Tuesday.

Joining him on the 90-player watch list from the SBC were Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida, Appalachian State’s Marcus Cox and New Mexico State’s Larry Rose III.

Former Alabama running back Derrick Henry won the award last season, marking only the second time since 2003 the award had gone to a non-quarterback.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey are the returning Maxwell Award finalists. Baylor and Clemson each put three players on the watch list.

Follow Luke Johnson on Twitter, @ByLukeJohnson.