Three B1G Running Backs Named Doak Walker Semifinalists

By Will Wilson

The Big Ten may be one of the most disappointing conferences in all of college football, but there’s no question it has some of the top workhorses in the country running the football.

The Doak Walker Award released its 10 semifinalist, which goes to the nation’s top running back. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 make up 30 percent of the honorees.

The three semifinalists from the Big Ten are:

1. Montee Ball, Wisconsin
2. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
3. Venric Mark, Northwestern

All three are tops in the conference in rushing, Bell (1,249), Ball (1,028) and Mark (1,077). There are a few other backs in the Big Ten who could have been mentioned, but their quality of work doesn’t compare to these three. The wildcard among the three is Mark, he’s had a spectacular year for the Wildcats and is a threat on special teams.

Ball knows what it’s like to be on the list, he was a finalist last year for the award that went to Trent Richardson. It doesn’t look like any of these three will beat out Oregon’s Kenjon Barner. Barner is second in the FBS in rushing and leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with 19. He’s also averaging a staggering 7.2 yards per carry.

Ball and Bell will be early picks in this years NFL draft, while Mark will mostly likely return for his senior season on Chicago’s north shore. It’s sad to see Rex Burkhead off the list as he’s been dealing with injuries all season.

The finalists will be named on Nov. 19, and the winner will be crowned on Dec. 6 during The Home Depot College Football Awards.

Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.

Follow Will on Twitter: @GoPackGo1

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