One would have to say that being a football player at Alabama elevates his reputation and, as Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban is wont to say, the “personal gratification” for the player. To be perfectly honest, it is otherwise hard to fathom Bama running backs comprising two of the 76 at that position who are on the Doak Walker Award watch list.
The Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best running back, was awarded last year to Derrick Henry, who was also the Heisman Trophy winner. But Henry has moved on to the NFL, as has his top backup, Kenyan Drake. Alabama’s Trent Richardson also won the award in 2011.
And yet, when the SMU Athletic Forum announced the running backs from across the nation who are on the watch list for the 2016 award, the names included Alabama sophomores Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris.
In 2015, Harris rushed 46 times for 157 yards and a score while catching four passes for 13 yards. He ranked second on the team with nine kickoff returns for 174 yards including a long of 30. He also added two tackles on special teams.
Returning for his sophomore season after rushing for 104 yards on 18 carries as a true freshman in 2015, Scarbrough was one of the top running back recruits in the country coming out of high school. He sat out the first four games of the 2015 season rehabbing from a knee injury, which, coincidentally, was also the length of an NCAA-imposed suspension for an issue not related to Alabama. He saw playing time against Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Charleston Southern, Florida, Michigan State, and Clemson by season’s end.
The Doak Walker Award has been presented annually since 1990 by the SMU Athletic Forum to recognize the top running back in college football. The award is named in honor of former college and NFL Hall of Famer Doak Walker. The 2016 winner will be announced at the College Football Awards Show in December.