DALLAS – UTEP’s running back duo of Ronald Awatt and Deion Hankins were recognized to the 2022 Doak Walker Award Watch List as announced by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum.
The prestigious Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 to recognize the nation’s premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community.
The Miners’ 1-2 punch combined for over 1,300 yards on the ground and 12 rushing touchdowns.
Awatt led the Miners with 844 yards on 158 carries (5.3 avg.) and tied for the team lead with six rushing scores. Awatt added 158 yards on 11 receptions (14.4 avg.), including a long catch of 65 yards. He rushed for a career-high 159 yards in the Miners’ 26-13 victory at Southern Miss, while also finding the end zone on 17-yard sprint. Against Rice, Awatt rambled for 119 yards on nine attempts, while breaking away for a career-long 74-yard rush. He added a 65-yard reception against the Owls during UTEP’s 38-28 victory. Awatt broke the century mark for the first time in his career against Bethune-Cookman, running for 126 yards and a score. Awatt capped his successful junior season with a score against Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.
Hankins tied for the team lead with six rushing touchdowns, while running for 458 yards (ranked second on the team). Hankins ran for a season-high 75 yards with a rushing TD during UTEP’s 28-21 win against ODU. The El Paso product grinded out 55 yards and rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the Miners’ 19-3 triumph over LA Tech. At Florida Atlantic, Hankins racked up 80 yards of all-purpose yards, while concluding the regular season with 68 yards rushing and a TD at UAB. Hankins opened the season with 50 yards and score at NM State, and followed with another TD against New Mexico.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinals in November, and three finalists, as voted 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 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 standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.
Current Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones was selected as a 2016 Doak Walker Award Semifinal in Nov. 2016. Quardraiz Wadley was the previous UTEP running back to be named to the Watch List prior to the 2020 season.