DALLAS, TEXAS - The PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced today the preseason candidates for the 2012 Doak Walker Award. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back. Representing the MAC are running backs Branden Oliver of Buffalo and Anthon Samuel of Bowling Green.
Oliver rushed for 1,395 yards and 13 touchdowns on 306 carries last season for Buffalo. Oliver led the MAC in rushing attempts (306), ranked second in the conference in yards rushing (1,395) and rushing touchdowns (13). Oliver averaged 116.2 yards per game as a sophomore for the Bulls.
Samuel earned the MAC Freshman of the Year Award as he rushed for 844 yards and five touchdowns on 144 attempts last season for Bowling Green. Samuel finished his freshman season by averaging 84.4 yards per game for the Falcons.
The field of 52 candidates is highlighted by 2011 Doak Walker Award finalist Montee Ball from the University of Wisconsin. Ball, a senior from Wentzville, Missouri, led the nation in rushing yards and scoring last season. Other nominees include 2011 semifinalists Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Zach Line (SMU) and Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State).
Nominations for the award will be accepted through October.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on November 9, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 19. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 26 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 2012 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 6, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas, Texas, in February 2013.
The award, in its 23nd 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.