Award Given Annually to College Football’s Top Running Back
Credit: Ole Miss Athletics
Ole Miss football sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins has been named to the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by the SMU Athletic Forum on Wednesday.
Judkins is one of 75 running backs nationally and seven within the SEC selected to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back. University athletic departments nominate candidates for the award and can continue to do so through October.
The award is named for SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.
This is the latest award in a long line for Judkins, who has also already been named to the Maxwell Award watch list in addition to earning Preseason All-America and first-team Preseason All-SEC honors by the SEC media, Walter Camp, Lindy’s, Athlon and Phil Steele. Judkins was also a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award last season.
Judkins is coming off a historic freshman season in 2022, during which he was named CBS’ National Freshman of the Year, On3’s Offensive True Freshman of the Year, the SEC Newcomer and SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as a first-team Freshman All-American by three different publications. Last season, Judkins set the Ole Miss single-season records in both rushing yards (1,567) and rushing touchdowns (16), and ended the year ranked in the national top-10 in rushing yards (No. 7), rushing touchdowns (No. 10) and total touchdowns with 17 (No. 10).
Judkins put together one of the greatest seasons ever by an SEC freshman running back in 2022. His 1,567 yards ranks as the second-most ever by a freshman in SEC history, trailing only Georgia’s Herschel Walker, who ran for 1,616 yards in 1980. Judkins’ historic season also ended ranked No. 11 all-time among Power-5 freshmen and was the most since 2017.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name ten semifinalists in November, and three finalists, as voted on by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, will be announced in November. The committee will cast a second vote in December to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of past recipients, former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2023 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7.
The Doak Walker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. The NCFAA’s 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients since 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday.