The latest preseason award watch list indicates an excellent outlook on the LSU football ground game. Such is great news considering a shaky spring camp.
The media has joined LSU football fans with high expectations for the running back room in Death Valley. On Wednesday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors released the Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.
LSU’s Josh Williams and Noah Cain are two of the 75 names on the list of running backs.
Cain entered his senior season and was among the only two scholarship running backs involved in the Tigers’ spring practices. Injuries combined with John Emery Jr.’s suspension resulted in a thin running back depth chart. As such, Brian Kelly considered forgoing LSU football’s spring game.
Noah Cain returns to Baton Rogue as a 221-pound, go-to running back for tough carries. He rushed for 409 yards on 76 carries and found the end zone 10 times in 2022.
Josh Williams was among the running backs recovering during spring ball. However, the graduate student is healthy and hungry for a new season. He rushed for 532 yards on 97 attempts and scored six touchdowns last year.
The LSU football running back room is back to a clean bill of health and regained Emery last week. We anticipate Williams and Cain to retain the bulk of the carries in 2023 while fending off Emery, Tre Bradford, Logan Diggs, and Armoni Goodwin for playing time. Williams emerged as a favorite for LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock last season.
Either way, the 5th-year player remains the top running back on third downs. Simultaneously, we believe Cain will retain his status as Denbrock’s preference in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
There is no better indication that LSU football is poised for another big year from their lead backs than the Doak Walker preseason watch list. Moreover, Tigers’ fans can feel good about Cain and Williams from personal regard because the Doak Walker Award requires candidates to achieve academically and on schedule to graduate.
The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will announce three finalists in November.
The 2023 Doak Walker Award winner will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards show.