When it comes to hardware for running backs in college football, none are more coveted that the Doak Walker Award, named after former SMU and Detroit Lions tailback and three-time All-American Doak Walker.
This year’s preseason watch list of running backs is a loaded bunch, which includes four standouts from the state of Michigan.
LJ Scott Earns @ncfaa @DoakWalkerAward Watch List Accoladeshttps://t.co/81ICz7vFAD#DoakWalkerAward #CFBWatchMe pic.twitter.com/lrhDD8SomR
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) July 20, 2017
Michigan State junior running back LJ Scott is on his second preseason watch list heading into 2017, he was also named to the Maxwell Award list for best overall player.
Scott showed steady improvement from his freshman to sophomore season, even in a down year for the program, upping his yardage total and establishing himself as the team’s No. 1 back. He still has some quality safety nets behind him in fellow junior Madre London and senior Gerald Holmes but the Spartans are hoping he can take the reigns in 2017.
Scott is one of ten backs from the Big Ten to make the list of 61 players, which includes Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who was a semifinalist a year ago.
Vann Named Doak Walker Award Preseason Candidate
>> https://t.co/G7NDSfMmzB#EMUEagles #FR4REAL #EMUFB pic.twitter.com/quscdkSbPo
— EMU Athletics (@EMUAthletics) July 20, 2017
This is the second straight showing on the Doak Walker Award watch list for Eastern Michigan redshirt junior Shaq Vann. Unfortunately, Vann was limited to just two games last season due to injury after a breakout year as a redshirt freshman in 2015 when he totaled 850 yards from scrimmage.
ICYMI: Not 1 but ✌️ Bronco RBs named Doak Walker Award candidates as the nation's best running backs! #LetsRide pic.twitter.com/NcRutdKoBa
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) July 21, 2017
Western Michigan is one of a handful of schools with two members cracking this list. Both senior Jarvion Franklin and junior Jamauri Bogan return in 2017 to lead what should be a gaudy backfield in Kalamazoo. Franklin and Bogan combined for 2,622 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns.
This is the second preseason watch list appearance for Bogan specifically. He was tabbed to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list earlier this week as well. Together with Vann of Eastern Michigan, they are three of five MAC running backs to make the Doak Walker Award list.
This award will be one of many handed out on December 7 as part of ESPN’s College Football Awards Show.