Ole Miss sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy has been named to the watch list for the 2020 Doak Walker Award, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced on Wednesday.
The award, which will name its 31st recipient in 2020, 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.
In his first season on campus, Ealy made an immediate impact for the Rebels. The Walnut Grove, Mississippi, native earned Freshman All-America accolades from several media outlets (247 Sports, Athlon, Pro Football Focus), while also collecting All-SEC and Freshman All-SEC honors. Ealy finished second on the Rebels with 722 rushing yards on 104 attempts for a team-best 6.9 yards per carry. He also found the end zone six times on the ground, the second-most rushing touchdowns by a freshman in school history. Coming out of the backfield, Ealy caught 20 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown.
Ealy showcased his versatility and knack for making big plays in 2019. Along with racking up three rushes for 50+ yards, the freshman was dangerous as a kickoff returner. Against Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 14, 2019), Ealy tallied 273 all-purpose yards with the help of his 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The all-purpose yards set an Ole Miss freshman record and was fourth-most by any Rebel. Adding a touchdown on the ground, he became the first Rebel to record a kickoff return and rushing TD in the same game since 1999.
Ten semifinalists will be named in November, and three finalists, as voted on by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, will be announced later that month. 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 2020 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics