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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

Pair of 2015 finalists part of Ray Guy Award watch list

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Like its foot counterpart the Groza Award, the Ray Guy Award has a decidedly familiar feel to its preseason watch list.

Among the 28 players that make up this year’s list for the punting award, named in honor of the former Southern Miss great who was the first punter ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, are two finalists for last year’s award — San Jose State’s Michael Carrizosa and Colorado State’s Hayden Hunt.  The winner of the 2015 Ray Guy Award was Tom Hackett of Utah.

All 10 FBS conferences and one independent (BYU) are represented, led by the SEC’s five.  The Mountain West is next with four, followed by the AAC, Big 12 and Conference USA with three apiece.

The vast majority of the watch listers are juniors or seniors, with the lone exceptions being a pair of sophomores — Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert and Kansas State’s Nick Walsh.

Player attendees for SEC Media Days revealed

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Yet another sign that a new season is quickly coming up on the horizon?  Media days attendees get full-blown attention.

The first Power Five conference up on the Media Days circuit in 2016 is the SEC, so that conference also becomes the first to reveal which players each of its 14 teams will send to the July 11-14 event in Hoover, Ala.  A total of 42 players, along with their head coaches, will be made available to the media throughout the four-day football kickoff.

In what may tell you something about the state of the quarterback position in the conference, just three signal-callers — Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs, Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly, Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight — will attend.  Conversely, five tight ends will be a part of the festivities.

Being invited by your team is considered an honor and thus leans heavily toward seniors, and such is the case this year as 29 players listed as being part of that class will take part.  There are 12 juniors in the group, meaning there’s only one non-upperclassman — South Carolina sophomore wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Alabama
Jonathan Allen, Sr., DL
O.J. Howard, Sr., TE
Eddie Jackson, Sr., DB

Arkansas
Brooks Ellis, Sr., LB
Jeremy Sprinkle, Sr., TE
Deatrich Wise Jr., Sr., DL

Auburn
Montravius Adams, Sr., DL
Marcus Davis, Sr., WR
Carl Lawson, Jr., DL

Florida
Jarrad Davis, Sr., LB
Marcus Maye, Sr., DB
David Sharpe, Jr., OL

Georgia
Jeb Blazevich, Jr., TE
Brandon Kublanow, Sr., C/OG
Dominick Sanders, Jr., SS

Kentucky
Jojo Kemp, Sr., RB
Courtney Love, Jr., LB
Jon Toth, Sr., C

LSU
Leonard Fournette, Jr., RB
Ethan Pocic, Sr., C
Tre’Davious White, Sr., DB

Ole Miss
Evan Engram, Sr., TE
D.J. Jones, Sr., DT
Chad Kelly, Sr., QB

Mississippi State
Richie Brown, Sr., LB
A.J. Jefferson, Sr., DL
Fred Ross, Sr., WR

Missouri
Sean Culkin, Sr., TE
Charles Harris, Jr., DE
Michael Scherer, Sr., LB

South Carolina
Marquavius Lewis, Sr., DL
Deebo Samuel, So., WR
Mason Zandi, Sr., OL

Tennessee
Joshua Dobbs, Sr., QB
Jalen Reeves‐Maybin, Sr., LB
Cameron Sutton, Sr., DB

Texas A&M
Myles Garrett, Jr., DL
Trevor Knight, Sr., QB
Ricky Seals‐Jones, Jr., WR

Vanderbilt
Oren Burks, Jr., LB
Zach Cunningham, Jr., LB
Ralph Webb, Jr., RB

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is running the Boston Marathon today

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Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has never ran a 5K before, let alone a marathon. But that isn’t stopping the New England native from checking an item off his bucket list and running the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Mullen, for what it’s worth, told USA Today he’s been legitimately training for the marathon and ran just over 20 miles a few weeks ago. So it’s not like the eighth-year Bulldogs coach is recklessly doing this.

If you’re so inclined, you can follow along with Mullen’s progress here. Even though he’s trained, it’s kind of funny seeing “40K” at that link knowing Mullen hasn’t run an organized race before.

Pair of Mississippi State players see injuries cut careers short

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Injuries are a part of the game, and unfortunately that means game over far too soon for a number of young college football players. Such is the case at Mississippi State. Tight end Gus Walley and offensive lineman Jake Thomas are reportedly no longer with the Bulldogs, and it does not appear they will be continuing their football careers elsewhere.

According to a report from Inside Mississippi State Sports, Walley’s career came to an end due to concussions. After starting seven of the eight games in which he appeared, Walley did not play in either of Mississippi State’s final two bowl games, including the bowl game against North Carolina State. Walley ended his season by catching two passes for 10 yards in a 51-50 victory at Arkansas. In his eight games, Walley caught 19 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Thomas missed the entire 2015 season, which was injury plagued from the start. He appeared in just two game sin 2014, his redshirt freshman season. Multiple reports say Thomas will stay at Mississippi State to complete his degree. Perhaps Dan Mullen can find another way to keep Thomas involved with the football team, if that is something Thomas would like to explore.