DALLAS East Carolina sophomore running back Keaton Mitchell is one of 74 players named to the 2022 Doak Walker Award Watch List according to an announcement by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum Tuesday. The Forum annually presents the award to the nation’s top running back.

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).

Last week, Mitchell was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List presented to the College Player of the Year.

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 2022 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards. 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.