10 Best Running Backs Named to 2013 Doak Walker Award Watch List
The Doak Walker Award is one of the most closely watched awards next to the Heisman Trophy. There are tons of great running backs each season and while there is only one winner, a valid case could be made for several different candidates.
Last season, Wisconsin's Montee Ball won the award.
Picking a winner this season may come down to a coin flip with all of the talent at the position. The 2013 watch list was released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum and it includes a plethora of runners who could take home the hardware.
From last year's leading rusher in Ka'Deem Carey to a pair of SEC runners who have busted onto the scene, this year's Doak Walker Award will likely be decided on the last week of the season.
10. John Hubert, Senior, Kansas State
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John Hubert was overshadowed the last two seasons by some quarterback named Collin Klein. Like his former quarterback, Hubert has been consistent, rushing for more than 900 yards and averaging five yards a carry in each of the last two years.
Last season, Huber finished fourth in the Big 12 with 952 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Just think how crazy those statistics could have been if Klein didn't lead the team with 207 carries.
Hubert has the talent to be a terrific running back and match numbers with some of college football's best. Finally, he will be given a chance to be the star of the offense and prove his true ability.
9. Dri Archer, Senior, Kent State
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Dri Archer is the poor man's De'Anthony Thomas. He's explosive, fun to watch and a threat to score at all times. Checkout this video if you are somebody who doesn't pay attention to non-BCS players.
Archer put up video game numbers last season, rushing for 1,429 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had 561 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 39 receptions. His 18 runs of 20 or more yards is absurd when you factor in he only touched the ball 159 times.
Kent State has a human highlight film at running back. The issue with him winning the award is that he doesn't play against great competition and isn't on national television. Still, he deserves some serious consideration.
8. De'Anthony Thomas, Junior, Oregon
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It's no secret that De'Anthony Thomas is one of the most exciting players in college football. He's one of the fastest players in the country and is a nightmare to stop in the open field. A big play happens nearly every time he touches the ball.
Thomas is used everywhere in the Oregon offense and sees considerable playing time on special teams. While he is one of the best running backs in the country, he has yet to receive more than 100 carries in a season. The lack of touches really hurt his production and doesn't allow him to compete with runners getting the ball 200-plus times.
It would be foolish to leave Thomas off the list, but he needs to get the ball more to have a realistic chance at the award.
7. Marion Grice, Senior, Arizona State
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Marion Grice is probably the most underrated running back in the country. His name is almost never brought up with the elite runners and that's a shame.
Last season, Grice rushed for 679 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 103 carries. He also caught 41 passes for 425 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished the season with 19 touchdowns on only 144 carries, which is simply remarkable efficiency.
Grice will begin popping up on NFL draft boards around the country once people begin waking up. Assuming he sees an increased workload, he'll also have a chance to become the first Arizona State player to win the Doak Walker Award.
6. Bishop Sankey, Junior, Washington
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Bishop Sankey had an incredible season and not many people even know he exists.
He was the workhorse running back for Washington last season, carrying the ball 289 times and catching 33 passes. He finished the year with 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns, while clearing the 100-yard mark seven times.
Sankey picked up 64 first downs and had eight runs of 25 or more yards. There is also a great chance he can repeat those numbers with majority of the Huskies offense returning, including four offensive linemen.
There will be a legitimate argument for Sankey's award chances if Washington can compete for a Pac-12 title.
5. Duke Johnson, Sophomore, Miami
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Miami has had many great running backs in its history, but surprisingly has never produced a Doak Walker Award winner.
Duke Johnson could change that this season.
The freshman runner did a little bit of everything for the Hurricanes last season. He rushed for 947 yards, caught 27 passes, returned kickoffs and scored 13 touchdowns. His 6.8 yards per carry average was second highest in the ACC, and he had nine runs of 25 or more yards on 139 carries.
Johnson should see an increased workload and will make a strong case to become the first Hurricane to win the award.
4. Ka’Deem Carey, Junior, Arizona
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There's no way Ka’Deem Carey wasn't going to make the list.
He led the nation last season with 1,929 rushing yards, which was better than many college football teams. He also rushed for 23 touchdowns and proved to be a valuable receiver, hauling in 36 passes for 303 yards and a score.
Carey is extremely elusive in and out of his cuts and has terrific top end speed. The only thing that prevented him from winning the award last season was that Arizona was an average team in the Pac-12 with an 8-5 record.
If the Wildcats can win more and Carey duplicates last year's performance, the Doak Walker Award will be his to lose.
3. Lache Seastrunk, Junior, Baylor
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Now that Baylor has produced a Heisman winner and stayed relevant in the Big 12, it's time to make some noise with the Doak Walker Award.
Lache Seastrunk gives the Bears a legit shot of producing the nation's top running back. Despite only carrying the ball 137 times, Seastrunk finished last season with 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry and had 10 runs of 25 or more yards.
Seastrunk has great speed and is capable of going the distance any time he touches the football. He also isn't short on confidence, as he guaranteed he would win this year's Heisman. If that doesn't work out, there is always the Doak Walker Award.
2. T.J. Yeldon, Sophomore, Alabama
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It didn't take Alabama long to find its next terrific running back. T.J. Yeldon showed more than enough his true-freshman season to not only be the starter for the Tide, but he made a strong case to be considered one of the best backs in college football.
Yeldon finished sixth in the SEC with 1,108 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Even though Eddie Lacy finished with more carries (204), at times it looked like Yeldon was the No. 1 option in the backfield. He finished the SEC Championship and National Championship with a combined 46 carries.
Yeldon has the speed, elusiveness and great hands to help Alabama produce a second Doak Walker Award winner in three years.
1. Todd Gurley, Sophomore, Georgia
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Todd Gurley may have only been a true freshman last season, but he proved to be the best running back in the country.
It's rare to see somebody fresh out of high school with his skill set and size at 6'1", 232 pounds. First-year SEC runners usually don't rush for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns. Keep in mind that he was also sharing carries with another talented runner in Keith Marshall.
Gurley is this year's Trent Richardson or Darren McFadden. He has the perfect combination of size, speed and power and will likely only get better with another year of playing time. There's a good chance Georgia will produce its second Doak Walker Award winner.