For pretty much the entire 2014 season, four Big Ten running backs have been among the top 10 rushers yardage-wise at the FBS level. For three of them, their in-season production has the potential to be rewarded in the postseason.
Of the 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Doak Walk Award, three came from the Big Ten: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah. Those three are first, second and ninth, respectively, in rushing yards.
That conference could actually make a case that it was gypped as Minnesota’s David Cobb, seventh nationally in rushing, wasn’t named a semifinalist. The only other conference outside of the B1G with more than one semifinalist was the ACC with two (Pittsburgh’s James Conner, Miami’s Duke Johnson).
Another fair gripe would be Western Michigan true freshman Jarvion Franklin, who is sixth in rushing and second in rushing touchdowns. The same could be said for San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey, fifth in rushing. Cobb, Franklin and Pumphrey are the only players in the top 10 in rushing not named as semifinalists.
There are six junior semifinalists, with two each for the senior and sophomore classes.
Gordon and Abdullah are the only 2013 semifinalists named again in 2014. Neither were finalists for the award won by Boston College’s Andre Williams.
Gordon and Johnson were also named as semifinalists for the prestigious Walter Camp Award Wednesday as well.
Below are the 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Doak Walker Award.
Ameer Abdullah (Sr.) Nebraska
Jay Ajayi (Jr.) Boise State
Javorius Allen (Jr.) USC
Cameron Artis-Payne (Sr.) Auburn
Matt Breida (So.) Georgia Southern
Tevin Coleman (Jr.) Indiana
James Conner (So.) Pittsburgh
Melvin Gordon (Jr.) Wisconsin
Devon Johnson (Jr.) Marshall
Duke Johnson (Jr.) Miami