LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) – Junior running back Pooka Williams Jr., was named to the Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Friday, an award given annually to the most outstanding player in college football.
In its 84th year, the Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.
Williams, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, enters the 2020 season following his second-consecutive 1,000-plus yard season in 2019. Williams carried 203 times for 1,061 yards and three touchdowns a season ago, becoming the first Jayhawk since James Sims to rush for 1,000 or more yards in back-to-back seasons.
Williams also tallied 1,275 all-purpose yards in 2019, including 214 yards receiving. Williams ranks second among Big 12 returners in all-purpose yards from 2019.
The honor comes after being named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team, while he was also named as a fourth team All-American by Phil Steele going into the 2020 season.
Over his career, Williams has amassed 2,186 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 364 attempts. Williams ranks 12th in KU history in career rushing yards and was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (AP) in 2018.
The members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association’s 25 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates.