DALLAS, TEXAS - The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum announced today candidates for the 2009 Doak Walker Award. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
The field of candidates includes the nation’s leading returning rusher, MiQuale Lewis, from Ball State. Other candidates include the leading returning rushers from the Pac 10 (Jahvid Best, California, Berkley); the Big 12 (Kendal Hunter, Oklahoma State) and the ACC (Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech).
Nevada junior Vai Taua is on the watch list for the first time in his career. Taua ran for 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns last year as a sophomore. He also caught 30 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of proving that my name belongs on that list, which includes some of the top players in the country,” Vai Taua said. “We have a lot of talented backs on our team and one of the best offensive lines you could ask for. We’re ready to show what we can do.”
Taua is one of two players from Western Athletic Conference schools on the watch list as he is joined by Louisiana Tech's Daniel Porter.
This is the second straight season that Nevada has had a player on the watch list as senior Luke Lippincott made the watch list last year.
The complete list of candidates, who were nominated by their universities, follows:
Armando Allen (Jr.), Notre Dame
André Anderson (Sr.), Tulane
Reggie Arnold (Sr.), Arkansas State
Baron Batch (Jr.), Texas Tech
Jahvid Best (Jr.), California, Berkeley
LeGarrette Blount (Sr.), Oregon
Chris Brown (Sr.), Oklahoma
Donald Buckram (Jr.), UTEP
John Clay (So.), Wisconsin
DaJuane Collins (Sr.), Toledo
Jeff Demps (So.), Florida
Noel Devine (Jr.), West Virginia
Andre Dixon (Sr.), Connecticut
Shaun Draughn (Jr.), North Carolina
Jonathan Dwyer (Jr.), Georgia Tech
Jamelle Eugene (Sr.), North Carolina State
Darren Evans (So.), Virginia Tech
Damion Fletcher (Sr.), Southern Mississippi
Toby Gerhart (Sr.), Stanford
Cyrus Gray (So.), Texas A&M
Nicolas (Nic) Grigsby (Jr.), Arizona
DuJuan Harris (Jr.), Troy
Roy Helu, Jr. (Jr.), Nebraska
Dan Herron (So.), Ohio State
Kendall Hunter (Jr.), Oklahoma State
Mark Ingram (So.), Alabama
Eugene Jarvis (Sr.), Kent State
MiQuale Lewis (Sr.), Ball State
Darius Marshall (Jr.), Marshall
Brandon Minor (Sr.), Michigan
DeMarco Murray (Jr.), Oklahoma
Daniel Porter (Sr.), Louisiana Tech
Jacquizz Rodgers (So.), Oregon State
Charles Scott (Sr.), LSU
Da’Rel Scott (Jr.), Maryland
Jake Sharp (Sr.), Kansas
Michael Smith (Sr.), Arkansas
C.J. Spiller (Sr.), Clemson
James Starks (Sr.), Buffalo
Curtis Steele (Sr.), Memphis
Phillip Tanner (Sr.), Middle Tennessee State
Vai Taua (Jr.), Nevada
Jordan Todman (So.), Connecticut
Joseph Turner (Sr.), TCU
Brandon West (Sr.), Western Michigan
The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on November 11, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 23. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 30 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2009 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, December 10. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, February 19, 2010.
The award, in its 20th year, 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.