Elijah Collins named to Doak Walker Award Watchlist


Elijah Collins:(Photo: MSU Athletic Communications)

Nathan Stearns, Football Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – After having a sensational freshman campaign, Michigan State redshirt sophomore running back Elijah Collins was named to the Doak Walker Award Watchlist on Wednesday. The Doak Walker Award is issued annually to the best running back in the nation.

After initially starting the 2019 season as a second-string running back, Collins beat out Connor Heyward and Anthony Williams Jr. for the starting role after a 192-yard rushing performance against Western Michigan. On the season, Collins racked up 988 rushing yards — which was good enough for fourth in the Big Ten — and five rushing touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named to the third-team All-Big Ten by the media.

Collins also rushed for the second-most yards out of any Spartan freshman tailback in history. Only Sedrick Irvin in 1996 had more rushing yards during his freshman season. 

If Collins is able to break the 1,000-yard threshold in 2020, he will be the first Spartan’ running back since Jeremy Langford in 2014 to rush for at least 1,000 yards. 

Collins was one of seven Big Ten running backs to make the watchlist. Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson of Iowa, Indiana’s Stevie Scott, Nebraska’s Dedrick Mills, and Penn State’s Journey Brown and Noah Cain also made the cut.

Follow Nathan Stearns on Twitter @NathanStearns11.