Reno, Nev. – For the second straight season, Nevada running back Vai Taua has been named to the Watch List for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top running back. The Watch List was announced Wednesday by the PricewaterhouseCoopers SMU Athletic Forum.
Taua, a senior from Lompoc, Calif. (Cabrillo HS), is a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection and has rushed for 2,978 yards in his Wolf Pack career. He has been named preseason first-team All-WAC by Phil Steele, Blue Ribbon College Football, Yahoo Sports, the Sporting News and Lindy’s. He enters his final season at Nevada needing 1,022 yards to be fourth back in Nevada history to hit the 4,000-yard mark. He has two of Nevada’s eight best single-season rushing efforts in school history with 1,521 yards in 2008 and 1,345 yards in 2009.
Taua is one of three WAC players on the 49-player Watch List. The field of candidates has the nation’s leading returning rusher, Dion Lewis from Pitt and 2009 Doak Walker Award finalist and Heisman Trophy recipient, Mark Ingram from the University of Alabama.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on November 10, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 22. The Committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 29 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 2010 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, December 9. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, in February 2011.
The award, in its 21th 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.