July 18, 2013
2013 Doak Walker Award Watch List
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern senior running back and return specialist Venric Mark was named Wednesday to the preseason watch list for the 2013 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the top running back in the nation.
Last fall, Mark was one of 10 semifinalists for the honor after bursting onto the scene in his first year as Northwestern's starting tailback. In addition to the Doak Walker Award, the Maxwell Award (outstanding offensive player) also tabbed Mark to its preseason watch list.
Since the award debuted in 1990, Big Ten players have claimed six Walker Awards - Ohio State's Eddie George (1995), Wisconsin's Ron Dayne (1999), Penn State's Larry Johnson (2002), Michigan's Chris Perry (2003), Iowa's Shonn Greene (2008) and Wisconsin's Ball (2012).
Named a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports at both running back and on special teams, Mark is coming off a breakout junior season in which he was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back after rushing for 1,366 yards, the sixth-best single-season total in school history. He scored 12 touchdowns out of the backfield and was named Northwestern's Offensive MVP for the 2012 season.
An explosive return man, Mark averaged 18.7 yards per punt return with two runbacks for touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-American honors as a punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America. He finished just 29 yards shy of the Northwestern school record for all-purpose yards in a single season (2,166), ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten with 166.6 yards per game.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on November 14, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced Nov. 25. The committee will cast a second vote beginning Dec. 2 to determine the recipient, which will be be announced Dec. 12 at The Home Depot College Football Awards
Members of the NCFAA -- each among the most prestigious individual awards in the nation -- are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period in the month of July.
Mon., July 8: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
Tue., July 9: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Wed., July 10: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Thu., July 11: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Fri., July 12: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 15: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Tue., July 16: Biletnikoff Award
Wed., July 17: Davey O'Brien Award
Thu., July 18: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 19: Walter Camp Award
Coming off a 10-win season last fall, Northwestern opens the 2013 campaign on Saturday, Aug. 31 at California and makes its debut at Ryan Field when it hosts Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 7.
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