LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech sophomore running back Da'Leon Ward was named Wednesday to the watch list for the prestigious Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the top running back in college football.
Ward led the Red Raiders in rushing as a true freshman in 2016 as he compiled 428 yards on the ground before redshirting the 2017 campaign. He became the first true freshman to lead the Red Raiders in rushing since Shaud Williams did so in 1999.
Ward found the end zone three times on the ground and also caught 18 passes for 131 yards in just nine games as a true freshman, four of which were starts. He received carries in just six of those games, however, as he turned into Tech's top options out of the back field late in the season.
Ward, a native of Dallas, will be looking to become the third Red Raider in school history to win the Doak Walker Award, joining the likes of Byron Morris in 1993 and Byron Hanspard in 1996. This is the first preseason watch list of his career.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced 62 candidates to its preseason watch list, which will be shrunk to 10 semifinalists in November. The Doak Walker Award selection committee will announce three finalists on Nov. 20 before the selection committee determines its winner for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6 live on ESPN.
The Doak Walker award is named in honor of three-time All-American running back Doak Walker of SMU. It is the only major college award that requires all candidates be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.
Ward and the Red Raiders open the 2018 season Sept. 1 against in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff from NRG Stadium in Houston. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. with television coverage provided nationally on ESPN.