WKU defeats Middle Tennessee 31-26

Western Kentucky running back Gaej Walker carries the ball during WKU’s 31-26 win over Middle Tennessee on Nov. 30 at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Western Kentucky senior Gaej Walker was listed as a 2020 Doak Walker Award candidate, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced Wednesday. The Doak Walker Award – named after SMU’s three-time All-American – honors the nation’s top college running back.

Walker is one of only four Conference USA tailbacks out of 76 initial candidates throughout the country. The National Selection Committee consists of past recipients, former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.

After moving from defensive back to running back during the 2019 offseason, Walker ranked second in C-USA with 241 carries and 1,208 yards, while adding a team-best eight rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, his seven 100-yard performances tied for the most in the league in 2019. On the national scope, the Tampa, Fla., native finished 18th in carries and 28th in yards. Walker made a statement on his very first collegiate carry, rushing for a 68-yard touchdown on the Hilltoppers’ first offensive play of the season in the opener versus Central Arkansas.

This fall, Walker will have the opportunity to run behind an experienced WKU offensive line that includes three seniors and four returning starters. The group returns over 100 career starts, including Tyler Witt’s 31, Seth Joest’s 25, Jordan Meredith’s 25 and Cole Spencer’s 19.

The Doak Walker Award is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification. Walker earned his undergraduate degree in Recreation Administration from WKU this summer.

WKU is scheduled to host UT Chattanooga to open the season Sept. 3.{&end}

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