A second national award has tabbed Indiana sophomore Jaylin Lucas as part of its preseason watch list.
The Doak Walker Award released its list of players to watch during the 2023 season and included Lucas.
The prestigious Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 to honor the nation’s most outstanding collegiate running back. Named for the 1948 Heisman Trophy winner and three-time All-America selection from SMU, the Doak Walker Award recognizes a football player’s outstanding performance on the field, as well as his achievements in the community and in the classroom.
Expectations are very high for Lucas after he showed flashes primarily as a kick returner in 2022.
A first-team All-America selection as a true freshman, Lucas was the first Hoosier in program history and first freshman in Big Ten history to earn the conference’s Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. The running back/return specialist was the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with multiple kickoff returns for a touchdown in 2022.
Lucas led the Big Ten in combined kick return yardage (591) and kickoff return yards per game (28.1 ypg) and was among the top 16 in the conference in all-purpose yards per game (85.8 ypg). His game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown at Rutgers was the first kickoff return score at IU since Tevin Coleman in 2012 (at Northwestern). His two kickoff returns each went 90-plus yards and he added a 71-yard touchdown run for three scores of 70-plus yards. He was the first Hoosier since Coleman in 2014 with three 70-yard scoring plays in a single season.
Lucas began to emerge as a running back late in his freshman season.
He rushed for 141 of his 271 yards over his last three games (at Ohio State, at Michigan State, vs. Purdue). His best game from scrimmage came against the Boilermakers with 110 yards rushing on nine carries to go along with five receptions.
Each summer, all NCAA FBS colleges and universities are invited to nominate a running back from their respective football teams. Prior to the end of the college football season, semifinalists are selected for the award. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, comprised of sports writers, television commentators, analysts, radio sports personalities and former All-America and All-Pro football players, then narrows the field to three finalists and determines the recipient.
The recipient of the Doak Walker Award is announced in December during The Home Depot College Football Awards and is honored at the Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet in Dallas in February.
Indiana Football 2023 Preseason Watch Lists
- Allstate AFCA Good Works Team – Kahlil Benson
- Patrick Mannelly Award – Sean Wracher
- Ray Guy Award – James Evans
- Paul Hornung Award – Jaylin Lucas
- Doak Walker Award – Jaylin Lucas
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