EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP will have two of the best running backs in all of Conference USA – and maybe the nation – at its disposal in 2022.

The Miners’ backfield 1-2 punch of Ronald Awatt and Deion Hankins were both named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List on Wednesday morning. The award is given out at the end of every season to the best running back in college football.

Awatt and Hankins combined to rush for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021, as the Miners made a trip to the New Mexico Bowl. Awatt led the Miners with 844 yards on 158 carries (5.3 avg.) and tied for the team lead with six rushing scores. Awatt added 158 yards on 11 receptions (14.4 avg.), including a long catch of 65 yards.

Hankins tied for the team lead with six rushing touchdowns, while running for 458 yards (ranked second on the team). Hankins ran for a season-high 75 yards with a rushing TD during UTEP’s 28-21 win against ODU. He battled injuries all season and after off-season shoulder surgery, Hankins is healthy and ready to go in 2022.

The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinals in November, and three finalists, as voted by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, will be announced in November. 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 award 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 standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.

Current Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones was selected as a 2016 Doak Walker Award Semifinal in Nov. 2016. Quardraiz Wadley was the previous UTEP running back to be named to the Watch List prior to the 2020 season.

UTEP will open the season at home vs. North Texas on Aug. 27.