DALLAS, Texas (8/31/06) - The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum today announced North Texas junior Jamario Thomas among the list of candidates for the 2006 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Thomas, who led the nation in rushing in 2004 with 180.1 yards per game, returns as the Mean Green feature back after he was hampered by an injury for much of last season. He is the only Sun Belt player to make the list, and one of only five players from the Lone Star State. This is Thomas' second appearance on the Doak Walker watch list.
Thomas set a North Texas and Sun Belt Conference record with 1,801 yards in 2004, as well as the NCAA freshman record for 200 yards games, going over that mark five times. He tied the NCAA record for the fastest to reach 1,000 yards when he made it in seven games, and is one of only three freshmen ever to rush for over 1,800 yards.
The field of candidates includes Louisville senior Michael Bush who led the nation in scoring (14.4 points per game) in 2005; Auburn senior Kenny Irons who was the SEC’s leading rusher (1,293 yards) last season; California junior Marshawn Lynch who is the nation’s second-ranked returning rusher (1,246 yards); Oklahoma junior Adrian Peterson who led Big 12 running backs in rushing (1,108 yards) in 2005; and Northern Illinois senior Garrett Wolfe, the nation’s leading returning rusher (1,580 yards).
The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on Nov. 15, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote to determine the finalists on Nov. 16. The committee will cast a second vote on Nov. 27 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 2006 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. 7. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held at The Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007. Former USC running back Reggie Bush, first-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, won the 2005 Doak Walker Award.
The award, in its 17th 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.