PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – East Carolina sophomore running back Keaton Mitchell is one of 85 players named to the 2022 Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List according to an announcement by the Maxwell Football Club Monday.

In its 86th year, the award is presented to the College Player of the Year and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell who was a former standout at Swarthmore College and a renowned sportswriter and football official.

Mitchell, who started all 12 games in 2021 on his way to First-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors, led the league in total rushing yards (1,132) and all-purpose yards per game (115.83), while also ranking among league leaders in four other categories including rushing yards per game (second/94.33).

The McDonough, Ga. native became the 17th 1,000-yard rusher in program history (first since Tay Cooper in 2013) and tallied four 100-yard rushing games on the season which included a career-best 222 against Tulane, setting a single-game record for an ECU freshman running back (true or redshirt). He caught 22 passes out of the backfield for 253 yards with one score, registered 17 plays of 20 or more yards (eight resulting in a TD) and became the second Pirate running back to earn first-team all-league honors behind fellow classmate Rahjai Harris (2020 AAC Co-Rookie-of-the-Year).

Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced on November 1, while the three finalists will be unveiled on November 22. The winners of the 86th Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, 2022. The formal presentations of the Maxwell Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards live from Atlantic City, N.J. on March 10, 2023.