Round 14 of 15 in college football’s 2014 national award preseason watch lists was revealed Thursday with five Big 12 running backs landing on the candidate list for the Doak Walker Award.
The master candidate list consists of 53 of college football’s best running backs. Established in 1989 and first presented in 1990, the Doak Walker4 Award is named after the former SMU and Detroit Lions running back. And it is fitting that current TCU running back B.J. Catalon is one of the nominees on the 2014 preseason watch list.
Catalon, who will be a junior in 2014, has led TCU in rushing each of his first two seasons in Ft. Worth and also is a dangerous kick returner. Catalon rushed for 569 yards last season and averaged over five yards a carry.
The Texas running back tandem of Brown and Gray was the best one-two ground attack in the conference a year ago. Brown, a senior, gained 904 yards rushing last season, an average of 4.2 yards per carry, and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes out of the backfield, showing his versatility as a dual offensive threat. Gray gained over 700 rushing yards in 2013 despite missing the final four games with an injury.
Linwood spent most of his freshman season in 2013 as Baylor’s No, 3 running back. Despite that, he gained almost 900 yards on the ground and averaged 6.9 yards in 128 carries.
Wimberly produced a team-high 567 yards on the ground for Iowa State as a junior in 2013 and scored two rushing touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes and two for touchdowns. Wimberly returned six kickoffs last season, averaging 33 yards per return.
The criteria for the award includes accomplishments both on and off the field. Candidates must demonstrate high achievement in the classroom and in the community.
Four former Big 12 players have won the Doak Walker Award, the most recent being Cedric Benson of Texas in 2004. Other recipients from the Big 12 ranks were Ricky Williams of Texas in 1997 and 1998 and LaDanian Tomlinson in 2000.