Football

Will Levis, Chris Rodriguez Jr. on Walter Camp Player of the Year Preseason Watch List

 

University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis and running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. were listed among the 52 “players to watch” for the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s 2022 Player of the Year award, it was announced Friday. The award is the nation’s fourth-oldest individual college football accolade.

Kentucky is one of just four schools with two nominees (Kentucky, USC, Texas, and Iowa State).

Levis, a 6-foot-3, 232-pound senior from Madison, Connecticut, is entering his second year as the starter at quarterback. He had an impressive debut season for the Wildcats after transferring from Penn State in 2021. In 13 games, he threw for 2,827 yards and 24 scores, while rushing for 376 yards and nine touchdowns. His 24 TD passes were the most since Andre’ Woodson had 40 in 2007. He totaled 3,202 yards of total offense, the seventh player in school history to reach 3,000 yards of total offense in a season.

Rodriguez, a 5-11, 224-pound product of McDonough, Georgia, is the Southeastern Conference’s leading returning rusher. In 2021, he averaged 106.1 yards per game, ranking 12th nationally and second in the SEC. His 1,379 rushing yards ranks fifth on UK’s single-season list and he became the 10th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the 14th total time a Wildcat has accomplished that feat. He had nine 100-yard rushing games last season, a school record. He also had 13 receptions for 61 yards and three touchdowns.

For his career, Rodriguez has 2,740 career rushing yards (sixth on UK’s career list), 26 career TDs (tied for second on UK’s career list) and 15 100-yard games (third in school history.)

The duo helped lead UK to 10 wins for the fourth time in school history, along with 1950 (11-1), 1977 (10-1) and 2018 (10-3). It also marked the first time UK had at least eight total victories (including bowls) three times in a four-year span since 1949-52.

Levis and Rodriguez are also nominees for the Maxwell Award presented annually to America’s College Player of the Year.

The 2022 watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in mid-November.  The 2022 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 130 NCAA Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on ESPN’s College Football Awards Show (date TBD).

The winner will then receive his trophy at the Foundation’s 55th annual national awards banquet in New Haven, Connecticut in early 2023.

Please note: Appearing on the preseason Watch List is not a requirement for a player to win the Walter Camp Award or be named to the All-America team.

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