Two East Texans — Denzel Mims of Daingerfield and Keenen Johnson of Alto — are on the watch list for the Seventh Annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, it was announced on Tuesday by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and SPORTyler during the 14th Annual East Texas Kick-Off Luncheon at Green Acres Baptist Church’s CrossWalk Conference Center.
Mims is a senior wide receiver at Baylor, while Johnson is a senior wide receiver at Tulsa.
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity — specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals. In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas high school and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year Division I college in Texas.
Other notables on the list include 2019 list include: 2016 finalist quarterback Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma and 2018 finalists running back Eno Benjamin of Arizona State and wide receiver Tylan Wallace of Oklahoma State.
The watch list will be narrowed to up to 16 semifinalists in November and then up to five finalists in December. They will be selected by broadcasters, commentators, journalists, fans and previous winners. The finalists will be brought to Tyler for The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Banquet scheduled for Jan. 15, 2020.
This year’s Watch List includes:
42 players from all 10 conferences including an independent (American, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, Southeastern and Sun Belt);
Players representing universities from 20 different states and 34 schools;
Wide receivers lead the nominations with 20, followed by quarterbacks (10), running backs (9) and offensive linemen (3).
A player does not have to appear on the initial Watch List to be eligible to win the award. The Watch List is made up of players nominated from their respective schools.
Previous winners include: 2013 — Bryce Petty, Baylor, quarterback, junior, Midlothian, (Midlothian HS); 2014 — Trevone Boykin, quarterback, TCU, junior, Dallas (West Mesquite HS); 2015 — Greg Ward Jr., Houston, quarterback, junior, Tyler (John Tyler HS); 2016 — D’Onta Foreman, Texas, running back, junior, Texas City (Texas City HS); 2017 — Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, quarterback, senior, Austin (Lake Travis HS); and 2018 — Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, quarterback, junior, Allen (Allen HS).
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award was announced in 2012 by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and SPORTyler.
“We are fortunate to have a celebrity who exhibits the impeccable virtues that define this award,” Cindy Smoak, Vice President, SPORTyler said.
“In addition to being a well-known sports figure, Campbell also earned a college degree, married his high school sweetheart, raised two successful sons (Tyler and Christian) and still supports the community where he grew up.”
Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School in Tyler before joining the Texas Longhorns under legendary Coach Darrell K. Royal.
In his senior year, he led the nation with 1,744 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, going on to win the Longhorns’ first Heisman Trophy.
He was subsequently drafted by the Houston Oilers where he won Rookie of the Year honors in 1978 and went on to lead the NFL in rushing three times.
Campbell earned NFL MVP in 1979 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He now resides in Austin.
“All my life, all I wanted to do was be an athlete,” Campbell said. “I kept God in my life and surrounded myself with good people. I am humbled by this award named in my honor.”