DALLAS — Tennessee tailbacks Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara have been selected as preseason candidates for the 2016 Doak Walker Award, announced Thursday by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Hurd collects his second watch-list consideration of the summer after being previously named to the Maxwell Award Watch List on July 5. Kamara appears on the watch list of a major college football award for the first time in his career.
Hurd led Tennessee in rushing for the second consecutive year after racking up 1,288 yards on the ground last season. That figure made the Hendersonville, Tennessee, native UT’s first-ever true sophomore to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. He finished fourth in the SEC in rushing in 2015 and will enter his junior season with 2,291 yards to his name — only 891 yards behind Travis Henry for Tennessee’s best all-time career rushing mark.
As Hurd’s backfield mate, Kamara used his dynamic skill set to help power the Vols offense. He was second on the team in rushing at 698 yards, but also ranked second on the team in receiving with 291 yards to his name. The redshirt junior out of Norcross, Georgia, scored 11 total touchdowns last season for Tennessee, finding the end zone seven times on the ground, three times through the air, and once on a punt return for a score. In all, Kamara finished the year with 1,089 all-purpose yards (second on the team only to Hurd’s 1,478) and four multi-touchdown games.
Former Volunteer Tauren Poole (2008-11) was the last Tennessee tailback to appear on the Doak Walker Award Watch List, earning the distinction prior to his senior season in 2011.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name ten semifinalists on November 16, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the three finalists, who will be announced on November 22. The committee will cast a second vote beginning November 28 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of past recipients, former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2016 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 8, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas in early 2017.
The award, which will name its 27th recipient in 2016, 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.
Tennessee opens the 2016 season on Thursday, Sept. 1 when Appalachian State makes the trek to Knoxville. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.