Fab Five

Junior running back Armando Allen's versatility earned a pre-season nomination for the coveted Doak Walker Award.

And the hits just keep on coming.

On Monday, Irish junior QB Jimmy Clausen was named to the Davey O'Brien Watch List. Clausen joined 5th year senior gunner Mike Anello (Lott Trophy); senior center Dan Wenger (Rimington Trophy); and sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph ( Mackey Award ) as pre-season candidates for college football's ever-increasing number of post-season awards.

Irish Eyes referenced that Notre Dame's current number of players (four) would likely double as the remaining watch lists and early candidates trickled into the news. We might have slightly underestimated this team's final tally…

Junior running back Armando Allen has been named a candidate for the 2009 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's top running back.

Allen led the Irish last season in rushing yards (585), attempts (134) and qualifying average (4.4 ypc) and was second on the squad with three rushing touchdowns. The sophomore also posted 50 receptions (the second highest total for a running back in program history), 355 receiving yards and two more touchdowns. Allen added a 96-yard kick return touchdown in Notre Dame's bowl victory over Hawaii, the first KR TD for the Irish since September 2002.

Allen's defensive teammates will square off vs. five of the 45 Doak Walker candidates, beginning with Nevada junior Vai Taua in the season-opener and followed seven days later against Michigan senior Brandon Minor. The Connecticut duo of senior Andre Dixon and sophomore Jordan Todman visit South Bend on November 21 and the Irish will finish the season vs. bruising Stanford senior Toby Gerhart in Palo Alto. Gerhart gashed the Irish for 104 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in Notre Dame's 28-21 win over the Cardinal last October.

Noticeably absent from the 45-player list is the talented USC running back trio (or quartet, if you keep digging) of Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight, and C.J. Gable (as well as fullback Stanley Havili).

2009 Doak Walker Candidates

The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select Doak Walker semifinalists on November 11. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote to determine the award's finalists (to be announced November 23). Finally, the National Selection Committee (consisting of former NFL All-Pro and collegiate All-America running backs, members of the media, and selected representatives) will vote again beginning on November 30 to determine the 2009 winner. The recipient will be announced live on ESPN during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards, December 10.

The award is named for SMU's three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories