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BYU’s Lopini Katoa Only Local Player Named To Doak Walker Award Watch List

Running back Lopini Katoa #4 of the BYU Cougars pushes off of linebacker Curtis Weaver #99 of the Boise State Broncos during second half action between on November 3, 2018 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 21-16. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Doak Walker Award is given to the best running back in college football and on Wednesday the watch list for the award heading into the 2019 season was released.

Only one player from a college in the state of Utah was named to the watch list, and it wasn’t Utah’s Zack Moss.

BYU sophomore running back Lopini Katoa was the lone local running back to appear on the Doak Walker Award watch list.  The Doak Walker Award watch list is voted on by The PwC SMU Athletic Forum with nominations coming from university athletic departments.

Last year as a redshirt freshman, Katoa ran for 423 yards on 76 carries and had eight touchdown runs.  Katoa also had 114 receiving yards in his first full season playing as a Cougar.

Katoa will be competing with graduate transfer Ty’Son Williams from South Carolina for the starting running back this fall during training camp.

BYU will face two running backs on their 2019 schedule that are on the Doak Walker watch list, but neither are from Utah or Utah State.

The omission of Utah’s Zack Moss is surprising when you realize nine Pac-12 running backs appeared on the watch list.  Heading into his senior year, Moss has racked up 2,651 career rushing yards.  In nine games last season, Moss rushed for 1,096 yards on 179 carries with was good for 6.1 yards per attempt.  Moss appeared in only nine games in 2018 before suffering a freak lower extremity injury while getting into his own bed.

Another surprising absence from the watch list was Utah State’s Gerold Bright.  Bright, who is heading into his senior season for the Aggies, ran for 888 yards last season behind the now graduated Darwin Thompson.  Bright will compete with BYU graduate transfer Riley Burt for carries during camp.

The Doak Walker Award will be presented at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 12th.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.