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Running Back Xazavian Valladay Added to Doak Walker Award Watch List

Xazavian Valladay placed on watch list for college football's top running back award.

It didn't take long for some to notice Xazavian Valladay and his arrival in Tempe. Valladay has officially been added to the Doak Walker award's preseason watch list. The Doak Walker Award has been around since 1990 and is handed out annually to the nation's top running back.

Valladay, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, is entering his first year as an Arizona State Sun Devil after spending his previous four seasons playing for the Wyoming Cowboys. During his time in Laramie, Valladay totaled 3,274 rushing yards while averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scored 19 times. Valladay also proved to be a reliable asset in the passing game for the Cowboys, hauling in 51 receptions for 584-yards (11.5 yards per reception) and adding two more scores.

The Sun Devils football program has seen a lot of transition this offseason both due to NFL Draft entrees and more specifically the NCAA transfer portal. Among the departures were 1,000-yard runner Rachaad White and backup DeaMonte "Chip" Trayanum to the NFL and the transfer portal respectively. 

With those vacancies, Arizona State will be relying heavily on a relatively unproven cast of runners such as Daniyel Ngata (redshirt sophomore), Deonce Elliott (redshirt freshman) and Tevin White. Ngata and Elliott have combined for 85 career carries, while White is an incoming freshman.

This lack of experience could prove to be Valladay's golden ticket to winning the starting job and a lion's share of touches. Valladay has recorded 677 career touches and is averaging 5.7 yards per touch in his four-year college career. Valladay has also missed only four games in that time frame. This combination of proven workload, production and durability will certainly win coaches over.

If Valladay wants a fair shot at winning the Doak Walker Award, it is likely he will need to be the Sun Devils' lead back and command the vast majority of the touches. Scoring touchdowns wouldn't hurt his case, either.

Seeing Valladay on the award's watch list is a nice feeling for Sun Devil fans and they will certainly be hoping that he becomes the first Sun Devil to bring home the prestigious award.