FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas sophomore Peyton Hillis is one of 47 running backs named to the 2005 Doak Walker Award watch list released on Thursday by the SMU Athletic Forum. The award, presented annually to the nation's best running back, is widely recognized as the most prestigious honor for collegiate running backs.
"It is an honor for Peyton to be a candidate for this award," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "I think people got to see a glimpse of the great potential he has last year before he got hurt. He is a powerful runner and has great hands out of the backfield. He will be all over the field in a number of different roles for us this year. I'm excited about Peyton Hillis' future at the University of Arkansas."
Hillis played in 10 games last season as a true freshman and was picking up steam logging time at both fullback and tailback before suffering a fracture of the transverse processes of vertebrate in his lower back against Florida. Before the injury, he had scored five touchdowns in the Hogs' first four games.
Initially thought out for the season, Hillis returned to action just three weeks later. He finished the year with 63 carries for 240 yards and six touchdowns. Hillis also racked up 12 catches for 97 yards and two scores. Hillis will kick off his sophomore campaign this Saturday as the Razorbacks' starting tailback in the season opener against Missouri State.
The SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on Nov. 17, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote to determine the finalists on Nov. 18. The committee will cast a second vote on Nov. 28 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2005 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN along with other NCFAA member awards on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 8. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held at The Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, on Monday, Feb. 27, 2006.
Former Texas running back Cedric Benson, first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, won the 2004 Doak Walker Award.
The award, in its 16th year, is named for SMU's three-time All-America 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.
2005 Doak Walker Award Watch List
Joseph Addai (Sr.), LSU
Chris Barclay (Sr.), Wake Forest
Mike Bell (Sr.), Arizona
Brett Biggs (Sr.), Akron
Ahmad Bradshaw (So.), Marshall
Cornell Brockington (Jr.), Connecticut
Curtis Brown (Jr.), BYU
Thomas Brown (So.), Georgia
Michael Bush (Jr.), Louisville
Reggie Bush (Jr.), USC
Patrick Cobbs (Sr.), North Texas
P.J. Daniels (Sr.), Georgia Tech
Maurice Drew (Jr.), UCLA
Tyler Ebell (Sr.), UTEP
Anthony Evans (Sr.), Houston
Quinton Ganther (Sr.), Utah
Lynell Hamilton (So.), San Diego State
Mike Hart (So.), Michigan
Taurean Henderson (Sr.), Texas Tech
Stevie Hicks (Jr.), Iowa State
Peyton Hillis (So.), Arkansas
Carlton Jones (Sr.), Army
Brian Leonard (Sr.), Rutgers
Courtney Lewis (Jr.), Texas A&M
Rafael Little (So.), Kentucky
Wali Lundy (Sr.), Virginia
Marshawn Lynch (So.), UC Berkeley
Lee Marks (Sr.), Boise State
Reggie Merriweather (Jr.), Clemson
DonTrell Moore (Sr.), New Mexico
Tyrone Moss (Jr.), Miami
Jerious Norwood (Sr.), Mississippi State
Uril Parrish (Sr.), Tulsa
Adrian Peterson (So.), Oklahoma
P.J. Pope (Sr.), Bowling Green
Damien Rhodes (Sr.), Syracuse
Cory Ross (Sr.), Nebraska
Jamario Thomas (So.), North Texas
Pierre Thomas (Jr.), Illinois
Lawrence Vickers (Sr.), Colorado
Jerod Void (Sr.), Purdue
Danny Ware (So.), Georgia
Leon Washington (Sr.), Florida State
LenDale White (Jr.), USC
Terrence Whitehead (Sr.), Oregon
DeAngelo Williams (Sr.), Memphis
Garrett Wolfe (Jr.), Northern Illinois