The Georgia native led UK in rushing last season with 855 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He had five 100-yard rushing games.
Williams currently ranks 23rd on the Wildcats' all-time rushing leaders list with 1,341 yards. The 5-foot-9, 196-pound tailback has totalled 2,088 all-purpose yards in his career.
Fellow juniors Leonard Fournette of LSU and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford headline the 2016 candidate list after both were Doak Walker Award finalists a year ago. Fournette led the NCAA at 162.8 yards per game last year, while McCaffrey was the nation’s leader in all-purpose yardage (276.0 YPG). Six of the 11 semifinalists for the 2015 Doak Walker Award appear on the 2016 watch list.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name three finalists on Nov. 22. The committee will cast a second vote beginning Nov. 28 to determine the recipient, who will be honored live at ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.
The award, which will name its 27th recipient in 2016, is named for SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It 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.
Williams will begin his run at the honor when Kentucky opens the 2016 season on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET against Southern Miss at Commonwealth Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.