Examining the Doak Walker B1G list

The watch list for the Doak Walker Award has been announced. Who from the Big Ten legitimately has a shot in Big Red Report's opinion? We examine....

On Thursday, the Doak Walker Award announced their annual watch list, highlighting the nation's top running backs.

In the past eleven seasons, a Big Ten running back has won the award four times, including last year's winner Montee Ball from Wisconsin.

This list, which included 64 total players, featured seven running backs from Big Ten schools this season.

First awarded in 1990, Nebraska has never had a receipt ant of the award. Could junior running back Ameer Abdullah change that?

Here is four players Big Red Report feel have a legit chance at the award this season from the Big Ten.

Doak Walker Watch List - Updated: Jul 18, 2013
Ameer AbdullahRBNebraska 226 carries, 1287 yards, 8 TDs
Venric MarkRBNorthwestern226 carries, 1366 yards, 8 TDs
James WhiteRBWisconsin125 carries, 806 yards, 12 TDs
Carlos HydeRBOhio State185 carries, 970 yards, 16 TDs

Abdullah - The graduation of Rex Burkhead means Abdullah is the man this year in Lincoln. Burkhead had 98 attempts last season. If Abdullah had only taken a third of those, averaging what he did during the year per carry, he would have run for over 1400 yards and likely hit double-digit touchdowns. The backfield might be even more loaded this year, with Imani Cross' growth and hotshot freshman Terrell Newby and Adam Taylor coming in, but Abdullah is the leader at the position.

Mark - There is no reason to believe Mark won't build on what he did last season for the Wildcats. He's quick, shifty, and despite his 5-foot-8, 175-pound frame, he is tough. He had his moments of brilliance last year, including a three-game stretch against Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa where he averaged over 150 yards a game. If he can find away to put together a stretch like that again and Northwestern is exceeding expectations, he could find himself in the discussion for the award.

White - Possibly the best true backup running back in the country last year, White's career has always been overshadowed by Ball. This year, the senior looks to change that. He's not the same type of back as Ball, he's faster and not as big, but usually it's the same results – yards. He hurt Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game, racking up 109 yards and four scores in the route. But much like he was under Ball, there is another running back on the Badgers roster who could be pushing for his carries in sophomore Melvin Gordon.

Hyde - Ohio State is expected to win and possibly even contend for a National Championship, which means player accolades could follow. Hyde was the only player on the list who didn't record a 1,000 yards last season, but proved he could be a workhorse down the stretch. In the Badgers last three games, he recorded nearly 20 carries a game and racked up almost a 125 yards a contest. With more focus put on Braxton Miller by defenses, Hyde could be in for some big days this fall.

Other Big Ten running backs appearing on the list were: Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Mark Weisman (Iowa), and Zach Zwinak (Penn State).

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Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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