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Devin Neal, Daniel Hishaw Jr. Chosen as Doak Walker Award Candidates


Courtesy of the University of Kansas Athletics


LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas running backs Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr. are both preseason candidates for the Doak Walker Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s top running back. The watch list was announced Wednesday by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum.

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.

Neal is on his second preseason watch list after previously earning a spot on the Maxwell Award Watch List alongside teammate Jalon Daniels. A preseason All-Big 12 selection, Neal was the 13th Jayhawk in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season as he finished his sophomore year with 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns on 180 rushing attempts. Neal had three 100-yard rushing games in 2022, including a career-high 224 yards and one touchdown against Oklahoma State, a performance which earned him the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award and National Running Back of the Week honors from the Doak Walker Award.

A native of Lawrence, Neal is the only returning 1,000-yard rusher in the Big 12 this season, and he has earned preseason All-Big 12 recognition from Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention last season as he totaled 1,273 all-purpose yards, which included 183 yards and one touchdown receiving.

Hishaw had an electric start to the 2022 season and finished the season ranked third on the team in rushing despite playing just five games before suffering an injury. He had at least 50 rushing yards in each of the first four games and averaged 6.0 yards per carry for the season with five rushing touchdowns. Hishaw added 95 yards and a touchdown receiving, including one of the highlight plays of the season as he took a screen pass 73 yards for a score against Duke.

A native of Moore, Oklahoma, Hishaw has rushed for 495 yards in his two seasons at Kansas. In 13 career games, he is averaging 7.4 yards per carry with eight total touchdowns to his credit.

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 Home Depot College Football Awards. The Doak Walker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA includes college football’s most prestigious awards and its 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients dating back to 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday.

The Jayhawks open the 2023 season on Friday, September 1, taking on Missouri State at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Season tickets, mini plans and non-conference single game tickets are on sale now for the 2023 Kansas football season. Mini plans are designed to allow fans to pick the games that work the best for them. During the purchasing process, fans have the option to add a premium seatback to their order for less than $8 per game. To purchase tickets, and for more information, please click here.

Furthermore, Sports Combo Passes for KU Students are also available for just $175. The pass includes access to both football and basketball tickets and can be purchased online through Enroll and Pay. For more information on student tickets, or to purchase today, click here.