Is The Heisman Watch Next For Dion Lewis?

Pitt freshman tailback Dion Lewis continues to gain accolades from across the country, as he was named among 15 "Players to Watch'' for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, according to the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Can the Heisman Trophy watch be on as well? Dion Lewis is the only freshman on the Walter Camp list and among just four running backs. The list will be pared to five finalists Dec. 2 with the winner announced Dec. 10 during ESPN's SportsCenter broadcast at 6 p.m.

Pittsburgh has three previous Walter Camp Player of the Year winners with running back Tony Dorsett earning the award in 1976, defensive end Hugh Green in 1980 and wideout Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.

"I love watching the kid,'' Dorsett said. "It brings back a lot of memories for me. I'm really happy for him that he has been able to excel. What I like most is he has no ego. He just runs the ball.''

This is the latest recognition for Lewis (Albany, N.Y./Blair Academy [N.J.]), who is also a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back and Maxwell College Football Player of the Year Award.

The 5-foot-8, 195-pound freshman is also poised to become the first player since Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick in 1999 to be selected the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season.

Lewis is first in the Big East and sixth nationally in rushing yards with 129.1 per game. Overall, he has 1,291 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 224 carries for a 5.8 average. He has scored 14 total touchdowns this season.

Lewis needed just eight games to reach 1,000 yards, matching Dorsett's Pitt freshman record set in 1973. With three games remaining, he trails Dorsett's Pitt freshman rushing record by only 395 yards (1,686).

Lewis is also ready to become the most prolific freshman rusher in Big East history. He is just 37 yards away from matching former Pitt tailback LeSean McCoy's Big East frosh mark of 1,328 yards set in 2007.

"All my success this year, I owe it to my coaches, our offensive line -- what a job they've done, as well as guys like Henry Hynoski and Nate Byham, who also are great blockers,'' Lewis said. "I can't do anything without them, and for course I still wouldn't do anything if Coach Cignetti didn't get me the ball.''

Ranked No. 8 by The Associated Press writers and No. 9 in the USA Today coaches' poll, Pitt has its highest November rankings since 1982. The Panthers moved up to ninth in this week's Bowl Championship Series ratings, their highest BCS listing since it was created.

Pitt achieved the lofty rankings after winning six consecutive games to improve to 9-1 this season, its best start since the 1982 Panthers -- led by quarterback Dan Marino -- also started with a 9-1 record.

Pitt has a bye this week before putting its undefeated Big East record (5-0) on the line at West Virginia (7-3, 3-2) Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. The Panthers conclude the regular season against Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0) Dec. 5 at Heinz Field. The kickoff time has not yet been set.

That game against the Bearcats, who are rated fifth in this week's BCS standings, will determine the Big East champion and BCS bowl bid that accompanies the Conference title.

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