Penn State’s Barkley Semifinalist for Doak Walker Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State sophomore running back Saquon Barkley is among the 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Doak Walker Award for the nation’s premier running back.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Barkley is the only Big Ten running back on the list of semifinalists. Barkley is also a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award for the National Player of the Year.

Penn State’s lone Doak Walker Award winner was Larry Johnson in 2002. Ki-Jana Carter and Curtis Enis were finalists for the award in 1994 and 1997, respectively.

The Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 to recognize the nation’s premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. It is the only major collegiate football award that requires all candidates to be on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification. The award is presented annually by the SMU Athletic Forum.

Barkley leads the Big Ten and is 20th nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 111.3 yards per outing. He is also tops in the conference and ninth in FBS in total touchdowns with 15, while ranking first in the Big Ten and 17th in FBS in all-purpose yards at 142.1 yards per game. Barkley is a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week selection, earning the honor after the Maryland and Purdue games. He was also selected as the CBS Sports National Player of the Week following his dominating performance in West Lafayette.

The Coplay, Pennsylvania native has produced a pair of 200-yard performances, including a career-high 207 markers at Purdue. Barkley is the first Penn Stater with multiple 200-yard rushing games since Larry Johnson had four in 2002. Barkley had six rushing touchdowns in his first three games of the season, which are the most by a Penn State player since Evan Royster had six in 2008. With 13 rushing scores on the season, Barkley has tied the Penn State sophomore season rushing scores record.

In just 21 games, Barkley has broken into the Top 15 on Penn State’s career rushing list with 2,189 yards to rank 15th. He also sits No. 17th on the career rushing touchdowns chart (20). He set a sophomore single game record for all-purpose yards with 277 yards (207 rushing, 70 receiving) against Purdue. The mark is also 14th in program history. Barkley ranks No. 13 with nine career 100-yard games (five in 2015, four in 2016), including two 200-yard efforts. He has 67 rushes of 10 or more yards in his career (34 in 2015, 33 in 2016).

To determine the 2016 finalists, members of the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast their votes after this week’s games. Three finalists for the award will be named Tuesday, November 22. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast a second vote to select the 2016 award recipient. The 2016 Doak Walker Award recipient will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 8 on ESPN.

Penn State is 8-2 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play after the victory at Indiana Saturday. The Nittany Lions visit Piscataway to take on Rutgers in a primetime battle at 8 p.m. on Big Ten Network. The game will also air on the Penn State Sports Network and (6:30 p.m. airtime).

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