FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden is a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, an honor bestowed annually to the nation’s top running back, it was announced by The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board on Thursday.
McFadden is one of 10 semifinalists including one of five sophomores on the list. The Little Rock, Ark., native leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks seventh in the nation in rushing with an average of 121.9 yards a game. McFadden has racked up 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing. He has more rushing yards individually than 41 of the 119 Division I-A (34 percent) teams and more touchdowns than 46 teams nationally (39 percent).
“Darren certainly deserves his place with the very best in college football,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt. “Even with all the national attention, he has remained humble and focused on the game ahead. He has made the most of some outstanding blocking by his teammates and there is no questioning his talent.”
McFadden has proven nearly unstoppable when lining up at quarterback in the Razorbacks’ “Wildcat” package. On 26 snaps in the formation, Arkansas has racked up 239 yards and six touchdowns. The Hogs are averaging 9.2 yards per play out of the formation and a touchdown every 4.3 plays with McFadden taking the snap. McFadden is ninth in the country in all-purpose yardage with a 146.6 yards-per-game clip.
The 166 members of the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast their votes over the next week to determine the 2006 finalists. On Tuesday, Nov. 21, three finalists will be named, and a second vote will determine the recipient. The recipient of the 2006 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 7.
The award will be presented at the 2006 Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet in Dallas on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007. The late Walter Payton, former Jackson State and Chicago Bear great, was named the recipient of the 2006 PricewaterhouseCoopers Doak Walker Legends Award and will also be honored at the banquet.
2006 Doak Walker Award Semifinalists
James Davis, Soph., Clemson
Mike Hart, Jr., Michigan
P.J. Hill Jr., Fr., Wisconsin
Ian Johnson, Soph., Boise State
Marshawn Lynch, Jr., California
Darren McFadden, Soph., Arkansas
Adrian Peterson, Jr., Oklahoma
Ray Rice, Soph., Rutgers
Steve Slaton, Soph., West Virginia
Garrett Wolfe, Sr., Northern Illinois