Royster Named Doak Walker Semifinalist

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 12, 2008 – Penn State sophomore Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.) has been selected one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, an honor presented annually to the nation's top collegiate running back. The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors made the announcement.

The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will narrow the list to three finalists on Monday, Nov. 24. A second subsequent vote by the committee will determine the recipient. The 2008 Doak Walker Award winner be will announced live on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 11.

In his first season as a starter, Royster has quickly established himself as one of the nation's most productive runners and a centerpiece to Penn State's potent offensive attack. Gaining 90 hard-fought yards last week against Iowa's highly-ranked defense, Royster became the 12th Nittany Lion to break the 1,000-yard barrier (18 times), finishing the game with 1,060 yards. His 1,060 yards rank 13th on the school season list, with Lenny Moore (1,082 yds, 1954), John Cappelletti (1,117 yds, 1972) and Curtis Enis (1,210 yds, 1996) next.

Royster's 106.0 yards per game average ranks him No. 3 in the Big Ten and 20th in the nation. His 6.6 yards per rush average is fourth best in the nation among the nation's top 20 rushers.

Royster gives Penn State a 1,000-yard rusher for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time in the last seven years (four different players).

A hard-nosed and fearless runner, Royster has scored 11 touchdowns. The former Westfield High School football and lacrosse standout ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 6.6 points per game. Royster also has shown the ability to break the big play, as he has delivered 14 of Penn State's 53 plays from scrimmage of 20 yards or longer this season (13 runs, 1 reception). He also has 14 receptions for 121 yards this season.

Royster posted his fifth 100-yard game of the season and contributed one of his finest career performances in Penn State's 46-17 victory over Michigan on Oct. 18. He broke his career-high with 174 yards on 18 carries (9.7). He also made one of the momentum-swinging plays versus the Wolverines, with the Lions trailing 10-0 in the second quarter. Appearing to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage, Royster did a 360-degree spin, found a hole and burst up the middle for a career-long 44-yard scoring run.

Penn State boasts one Doak Walker award winner, Larry Johnson, who earned the honor in 2002. Former Nittany Lions Ki-Jana Carter (1994) and Curtis Enis (1997) were finalists for the prestigious award.

Joining Royster as Doak Walker Award semifinalists are: Donald Brown, Connecticut; Glen Coffee, Alabama; Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette; Shonn Greene, Iowa; Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State; LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh; Knowshon Moreno, Georgia; Javon Ringer, Michigan State and Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State.

The award is named after three-time SMU All-American running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker. Later a four-time All-Pro and two-time NFL champion with the Detroit Lions, he is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. Candidates for the award must be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate, and have demonstrated leadership, good citizenship and exhibit the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker.

Coach Joe Paterno's No. 8/7 Nittany Lions (9-1, 5-1) host Indiana on Saturday in the first meeting between the teams in Beaver Stadium since 2003. The contest will kick at 12:00 p.m. and air nationally on the Big Ten Network. The Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com also will air the contest.

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