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Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

Auburn wide receiver Kyle Davis potentially out for spring

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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was optimistic about wide receiver Kyle Davis returning to the team at some point this spring, but the tune has changed regarding his future. Malzahn is now saying Davis may be out for the remainder of Auburn’s spring practices due to personal reasons.

“Kyle Davis is still taking care of some personal business,” Malzahn said, according to SEC Country. “I’m not for sure if he’s going to be back before the end of the spring. He will be back for the fall, just taking a little bit longer than we initially thought.”

It was just a few weeks ago Malzahn said Davis was going to be out for the start of spring practices, which are now close to half over. For now, the plan is simply to have him return over the summer in preparation for the fall.

In the meantime, Malzahn confirmed John Franklin III is working primarily as a wide receiver, which had previously been suspected to be the case.

Auburn’s QB competition this spring has one player thinking he can score on any play

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Having a quarterback who can do it all is a nice luxury to have. While much of the Auburn quarterback situation may be focusing on Jarrett Stidham and the news that John Franklin III is seeing reps at wide receiver this spring, it is Woody Barrett who is turning heads with his sense of self-confidence.

The redshirt freshman quarterback is making a good impression with his teammates with his mentality on the practice field. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson respects the way Barrett is working hard this spring and explains the young quarterback seems to think eh can score at will.

“Woody gets out there, and, it’s funny, Woody literally believes he will score every play,” Johnson said, according to Al.com. “To a point, that’s what you got to love. That’s the same mentality I go in with every play. I love it. He’s got so much confidence that it gets scary sometimes.”

Now is a good time to have that kind of confidence in your game, especially as Auburn is in a position where it could benefit by having a solid quarterback option. Sean White is banged up this spring and Stidham is making the transition to his new program after fleeing Baylor. Franklin III is competing for playing time at quarterback as well in addition to getting some time to catch passes.

“He’s got a skill set, everybody knows he’s a great athlete,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said regarding Franklin, according to Gridiron Now. “It’s kinda hard to tell. He hasn’t gotten much, but we’ll give him an opportunity and his attitude is great. He’s wanting to help the team any way he can.”

Other quarterbacks hoping to impress in the spring include Tyler Queen and Malik Willis.

Joe Mixon stars as No. 7 OU overpowers No. 14 Auburn in Sugar Bowl

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Oklahoma’s stars shined as the seventh-ranked Sooners pulled away from an overmatched No. 14 Auburn, cruising to a 35-19 Sugar Bowl victory on Monday night.

The Sooners were led by Joe Mixon, the center of attention both on and off the field throughout the night. Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter and facing a 3rd-and-22 (one play after a Carl Lawson offsides penalty negated what would have been an Auburn stop), Mixon hauled in a 32-yard reception to extend the drive. Baker Mayfield tied the game five plays later on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews.

After a Daniel Carlson field goal nudged Auburn back in front, Mixon gave Oklahoma (11-2) a lead it would not relinquish when he plunged in from three yards out to put the Sooners up 14-10 with 3:37 to play in the first half. Mixon later added a 4-yard touchdown run and finished the night rushing 19 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns with a game-high five grabs for 89 yards.

That’s not to say Mixon was the only star of the night for Oklahoma, though. Mayfield (19-of-28 passing for 296 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, four rushes for 34 yards) connected with Dede Westbrook six times for 59 yards and a 7-yard touchdown strike on the first drive of the third quarter. Needing 83 yards to top Billy Sims‘s all-time rushing record of 4,118 yards (including bowl games), Samaje Perine carried 16 times for 86 yards and a 2-yard touchdown. He finishes his third season in Norman with 4,121 career rushing yards.

Overall, Oklahoma rushed 43 times for 228 yards (5.3 a carry) and rolled up 524 total yards on 7.38 yards per play.

Auburn (8-5) started the game extremely well, opening with a ground-based 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 3-yard Chandler Cox touchdown plunge on a 4th-and-2. But quarterback Sean White reportedly broke his arm on a rush one play before that and, though he would go on to play most of the first half, was ultimately replaced by John Franklin III. Franklin led Auburn to a second Carlson field goal to pull the Tigers within 14-13 at the half but did not dent the scoreboard in the second half before leaving with an injury of his own. Jeremy Johnson finished the game for Auburn; the three signal callers combined to complete 12-of-26 passes for 153 yards with an end zone interception tossed by Johnson. Kamryn Pettway led all rushers with 24 carries for 101 yards, and Kerryon Johnson rushed nine times for 33 yards. Johnson also tossed a 1-yard jump pass touchdown to Jalen Harris on the final play of the game, a play Auburn coach Gus Malzahn called two timeouts to set up with his team trailing by 22 at the time.

The win extends Oklahoma’s winning streak over the hated SEC to four games, its overall winning streak to 10 and, equally important in this College Football Playoff era, pushes the Big 12 into 2017 with a 4-2 overall bowl record, including two wins over the SEC in three tries.

Oklahoma leads Auburn as Sean White heads to locker room

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The combination of Baker Mayfield and Joe Mixon has shined, and Oklahoma holds a 14-13 lead over Auburn midway through the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers are playing without starting quarterback Sean White; ESPN’s Kaylee Hartung reported White had his right forearm examined by Dr. James Andrews inside the Superdome.

Auburn posted the only score of the first quarter, a vintage Gus Malzahn-Auburn drive. The Tigers moved 75 yards in 14 plays over nearly six minutes, running on all but two of those 14 snaps — including a 3-yard Chandler Cox plunge on 4th-and-2.

Oklahoma tied the game early in the second quarter, trudging 90 yards in 14 plays with major help from Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson. The Sooners were momentarily forced off the field after not converting a 3rd-and-27 from their own 34, but an offside penalty provided OU another shot, and Mayfield made the most of it with a 30-yard completion to Mixon. Mayfield completed the drive with a 13-yard scoring strike to tight end Mark Andrews.

After a 49-yard Daniel Carlson nudged Auburn back ahead with 7:16 left in the second quarter, Oklahoma grabbed its first lead with a 75-yard drive keyed by a 26-yard strike from Mayfield to Dede Westbrook on 4th-and-4 from the Auburn 29. Mixon plunged in from three yards out one play later to hand Oklahoma a 14-10 lead with 3:37 left in the frame. Mixon finished the half carrying 10 times for 45 yards and a score with three receptions for a game-high 73 yards. Mayfield has hit 8-of-14 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.

John Franklin III entered for White on Auburn’s final drive of the half and hit 2-of-4 passes for 21 yards while adding two rushes for nine yards. More importantly, Franklin guided Auburn 63 yards in 10 plays to set up Carlson for a 39-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the half. Kamryn Pettway has led the Tigers’ attack with 18 carries for 79 yards; as a team, Auburn has rushed 29 times for 123 yards.

Oklahoma will receive to open the second half.