McFadden Named Finalist

FAYETTEVILLE — Darren McFadden's Heisman Trophy chances are still up in the air with one game remaining in the regular season.

But the Arkansas running back has moved one step closer to winning two other prestigious awards, including one he has already taken home once before.

McFadden was named Monday as one of three finalists for both the Doak Walker Award and the Maxwell Award, an indication that the junior is considered a legitimate Heisman candidate.

McFadden won the Doak Walker Award last December as the nation's top running back, and he's considered the favorite to beat out Michigan's Mike Hart and Rutgers' Ray Rice to earn the trophy for a second time.

Former Texas tailback Ricky Williams is the only other running back to win the Doak Walker Award twice (1997-98).

"It's just a great feeling to be mentioned with those guys," McFadden said.

McFadden also joined quarterbacks Dennis Dixon (Oregon) and Tim Tebow (Florida) as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the college football player of the year.

The winners of the Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award will be announced during The Home Deport ESPNU College Football Awards show on the night of Dec. 6. The Heisman finalists are expected to be named sometime before the show.

"Darren McFadden deserves that Heisman Trophy," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He's the best the player in the country."

McFadden is the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher with 1,519 yards, putting him on pace to surpass his school-record 1,647 yards in 2006. He has also rushed for 12 touchdowns, thrown three touchdown passes and caught a reception for a score.



Injury Update

Arkansas tailback Felix Jones participated in practice Monday night, running with the football and looking "good," according to Nutt.

A deep thigh bruise limited Jones to just one play in last Saturday's 45-31 win over Mississippi State — a swing pass that went for no gain. But Nutt indicated that the junior should be ready for Saturday's game at top-ranked LSU.

"He's going to be there. He's going to be ready to go," Nutt said. "No one wanted to play more (last Saturday) than Felix."

Arkansas had one of its injured cornerbacks back for practice. Senior Michael Grant (hamstring) took part in drills, but sophomore Jerell Norton was held out because of a knee injury. Defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard (sprained ankle) also missed practice.

The status of Norton and Sheppard remains uncertain for this weekend.

"We're hoping. It's just (Norton) has a long way to go. Malcolm Sheppard has a long way to go," Nutt said. "We've got some guys that are beat up right now, so we're in a pretty tough situation with all the injuries right now because you just don't know."



Shuffling Lineup

Senior Robert Felton has been moved back to right guard after starting last Saturday's win over MSU at left tackle. Junior Jose Valdez, who has been bothered by an ankle injury, is listed as the starting left tackle for Saturday's game at LSU.



More Honors

Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick was named Monday as the SEC's offensive player of the week.

The junior completed 14 of 17 passes for 199 yards, and he tied an Arkansas record with four touchdown passes in last Saturday's win over MSU in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

This is the first time Dick has earned the weekly honor, though he was named the SEC's freshman of the week once during the 2005 season.

"I wasn't really concerned with stuff like that, but it's a great thing to be named player of the week," Dick said. "But you've got to be able to put that behind you, and we've got to get ready for the big game this week."

Meanwhile, Arkansas right tackle Nate Garner was named the SEC's offensive lineman of the week after recording a career-high 18 knockdowns in last Saturday's win. He graded out at 95 percent in blocking.

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