Neal Named to Doak Walker Award Preseason Candidate List

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas running back Devin Neal has been named a preseason candidate for the 2022 Doak Walker Award, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced Wednesday morning.

Neal, a rising sophomore, burst onto the scene last year as a true freshman with 707 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 158 carries, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in his debut season. The Doak Walker Award recognizes the top running back in the country and is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate.

Neal, entering his second season with the Jayhawks, has thrived on and off the field since donning the crimson and blue. One of the team’s most active community service attendees, Neal had some of his biggest games last year against some of the best competition.

Against Oklahoma, Neal ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns, before going off for a career best 143 yards and three touchdowns at Texas in a 57-56 overtime win.

He was named Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week following the Oklahoma game and was then named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after the Texas win. He was also named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 after the season.

A Lawrence native, Neal also proved he was capable catching passes, with seven catches for 57 yards and a touchdown, which came against the Longhorns.

Neal is the first Jayhawk to be named a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award since James Sims in 2013.

Neal and the Jayhawks will open the season Sept. 2 at home against Tennessee Tech. Single-game tickets went on sale this week, and season tickets remain on sale for the 2022 season.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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