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PROVO — A few days ago, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was named as one of 37 quarterbacks nominated to the Maxwell Award watch list, given to the top all-around player in college football every year.
His backfield teammate took similar honors Wednesday.
BYU running back Lopini Katoa was one of 71 running backs named to the Doak Walker Award watch list, as announced by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum that manages the award given to the top running back in college football.
Katoa is the only player from the state of Utah named to the award’s watch list.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound tailback from American Fork averaged 5.6 yards per carry for 423 yards and eight touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2018. That makes him the top returning back in BYU’s offense and should put him in line for plenty of work in the 2019 backfield, alongside graduate transfers Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esupka.
Former BYU running back Luke Staley won the award in 2001.
Other nominees include reigning Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin, and Syracuse’s Moe Neal.
Universities can nominate additional candidates for the award through October. The winner will be named at the ESPN College Football Awards show, broadcast Dec. 12 on ESPN.