Doak Walker Award Semifinalists Named: Making a Case for Each Candidate
Why Each Doak Walker Semifinalist Deserves Recognition
The Doak Walker Award Semifinalists were announced earlier today, narrowing the field to the 10 premiere running backs in college football. The award was created in 1989 to recognize the nation's premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. It is the only major collegiate football award that requires candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.
This year’s semifinalists are: Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, South Carolina’s Mike Davis, Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Auburn’s Tre Mason, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk and Boston College’s Andre Williams.
There are a few notable exclusions. One, Colorado State’s Kapri Bibbs, has 1,148 rushing yards and a national best 19 touchdowns. LSU’s Jeremy Hill (964 YDs, 13 TDs) and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon (862 YDs, 12 TDs) are also having a great season but did not make the cut.
The current list will be narrowed to three on Nov. 25, and the winner will be announced Dec. 12.
Each semifinalist is having a spectacular season, rushing for more than 1,000 yards to this point and helping power their respective offenses. Separating these guys and selecting a top three will be a difficult task.
With that in mind, here’s a slideshow that presents each player’s case (in no alphabetical order) for why they should be selected as a finalist for the award.
Ameer Abdullah (Jr.) Nebraska
The junior is on pace to deliver one of the greatest seasons by a running back in Cornhuskers history. Abdullah’s 134.8 yards a game leads the Big Ten and is sixth nationally. He has 1,213 yards and seven scores. Abdullah is on track to finish the regular season with 1,618 yards, which would be the fifth-most at a school that has a long history of producing some of the college game’s best running backs.
Antonio Andrews (Sr.) Western Kentucky
Andrews, the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards with 2,192, also sits second in rushing yards with 1,407. And he has an impressive 12 TDs to go along with all those yards. Last season Andrews tallied 3,161 all-purpose yards, second all-time in NCAA history behind the mark set by Barry Sanders.
Ka’Deem Carey (Jr.) Arizona
Carey has rushed for 1,221 yards and 11 touchdowns this year, and his 152.6 yards per game rank second in the country. He has run for 100-plus yards in 12 straight games and has tallied 125-plus all-purpose yards in 12 consecutive contests.
Mike Davis (So.) South Carolina
The sophomore has an SEC-best 1,058 yards, becoming just the eighth player in Gamecocks' history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. Davis also has 10 rushing touchdowns for South Carolina. He’s been one of the biggest surprises in the SEC this year, leading the conference in rushing yards at 117.6 yards per game.
Tyler Gaffney (Sr.) Stanford
Gaffney has been the go-to guy for Stanford, gaining 1,043 yards on the ground this season. He has more rushing touchdowns (13) this season than yards lost (10). Gaffney has lost yardage on just six carries. His school-record 45 rushing attempts against Oregon were the most by an FBS running back since 2010.
Melvin Gordon (So.) Wisconsin
Gordon ranks second in the league and eighth nationally at 128.9 yards per game. Though his numbers have dropped recently, he still has 1,160 rushing yards for the season and has scored 11 touchdowns.
Tre Mason (Jr.) Auburn
Mason has 1,038 rushing yards this season – good for second in the SEC. Mason also leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally with 17 total touchdowns this season, 16 of those coming on the ground. He’s been an integral part of the biggest turnaround in college football this season. With his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, Mason is now among top company at Auburn. Mike Dyer, Carnell Williams, Stephen Davis, James Brooks and Joe Cribbs are the only other Tiger backs to post back-to-back 1,000-yard years.
Bishop Sankey (Jr.) Washington
Sankey, a junior, is third in the nation with 1,305 yards rushing this season, and his 13 touchdowns are tied for fifth. He's only got 237 yards to go until he ties Joe Steel for third all time at Washington.
Lache Seastrunk (Jr.) Baylor
Seastrunk has surpassed 100 yards rushing in six of eight games this season. In total, the junior has rushed for 888 yards and a Big 12-best 11 touchdowns. He is averaging 8.7 yards per carry, which is second-best in the nation, and Seastrunk's 111.0 rushing yards per game average is tops in the Big 12 and 18th nationally.
Andre Williams (Sr.) Boston College
Williams currently leads the nation in rushing yards (1,471) and rushing yards per game (163.4), more than 10 yards per game ahead of the second ranked back in the nation. He has rushed for more than 200 yards three times and more than 250 yards twice this season, and is coming off a school-record 295 yard, 2 TD performance in a win at New Mexico State. Williams has 12 TDs on the year.