Herd duo named to Comeback Player of the Year watch list

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023


Marshall Athletics

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall running back Rasheen Ali and linebacker Stephen Dix, Jr., were two of 100 athletes named to the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Watch List released on Tuesday afternoon.

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The list was released by College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) in association with the Associated Press and the Fiesta Bowl Organization.

Both come into the 2023 season with high expectations after battling back from injuries in 2022.

Ali missed much of Marshall’s 2022 season due to injury, but returned for the final three games to split carries with Khalan Laborn and lead a Marshall ground game that rushed for 205 yards per game last season.

In those final three games, Ali rushed for 273 yards and a touchdown – a stretch that included winning MVP of the Thundering Herd’s 28-14 win over UConn in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Those numbers in the final three games continued a strong showing in the backfield for the Herd that started when Ali had a breakout 2021 campaign in which he rushed for 1,401 yards while tying for the FBS lead in rushing touchdowns with 23 – numbers that landed him on the 2021 FWAA Freshman All-American team.

Ali’s name has gotten plenty of publicity in the 2023 preseason as he has been a player of national interest.

The junior from Cleveland, Ohio, was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, which is an award given to the nation’s top running back.

Ali was also named as College Football Network’s Preseason Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Running Back of the Year for the Sun Belt Conference.

Ali was named as a Preseason All-SBC First Team selection at running back by Phil Steele Publications and Athlon Magazine while the Sun Belt Coaches voted him as a Preseason All-SBC Second Team pick.

Dix will be entering his first season with the Thundering Herd after transferring to Marshall from Florida State.

The 6-1, 237-pound linebacker missed all of the 2022 season due to injury, but played in all 12 games with 14 tackles and one pass  breakup as a redshirt freshman for the Seminoles in the 2021 season.

In the 2020 season, Dix saw action as a true freshman, playing in all nine games for Florida State, earning the start in the final five games of the season. The Orlando, Fla., native ranked third on the Florida State defense with 45 tackles, including 3.5 for loss.

Since 2018, the Comeback Player of the Year Award has recognized college football players from all divisions for overcoming injury, illness and other circumstances that kept them from competition.

At the conclusion of the season, a panel that includes college football writers, editors and sports information directors will honor three college football players as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.