LOGAN, Utah – Utah State sophomore running back LaJuan Hunt has been named a preseason candidate for the 2015 Doak Walker Award, it was announced Thursday morning by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Hunt is one of five players from the Mountain West on the preseason list, joining Nevada senior Don Jackson, San Diego State junior Donnel Pumphrey, Fresno State senior Marteze Waller and Wyoming senior Shaun Wick. Two other players from the Beehive State also made the list in Utah senior Devontae Booker and BYU senior Jamaal Williams.
Hunt is also a 2015 Preseason Athlon Sports fourth-team all-Mountain West selection.
Junior Ezekiel Elliot leads the field of nominees after rushing for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago for national champion Ohio State. Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida, Pittsburgh’s James Conner and Marshall’s Devon Johnson were 2014 Doak Walker Award semifinalists and are candidates again this season.
Nominations for the award will be accepted through October.
Hunt, a 5-foot-8, 195-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (University HS), played in all 14 games during his freshman season, making four starts. He finished the year leading the team in rushing with 540 yards, which are the third-most by a freshman in school history, on 111 carries (4.9 ypc). Hunt also caught 10 passes for 99 yards (9.9 ypc), including a 44-yard touchdown catch at Hawai’i.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinalists on Nov. 18 and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the three finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 24. The committee will cast a second vote beginning Nov. 30 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of past recipients, former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2015 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 10, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas in early 2016.
The award, which will name its 26th recipient in 2015, is named for SMU’s three-time All-American 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.
Over the last three years, Utah State is one of just four FBS schools to win at least 30 games and three bowl games, joining Clemson, Michigan State and Oregon. Furthermore, USU has played in four-straight bowl games, winning each of its last three, both of which are school records.
Utah State will open the 2015 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, at home against Southern Utah and will begin Mountain West play on Saturday, Oct. 3, at home against Colorado State.
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