#Pac12FB: Dye, Verdell Among @Pac12 Players Named To Doak Walker Award Watch List

DALLAS — Oregon’s veteran running back duo of Travis Dye and CJ Verdell has been added to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s top running back.

This is the first Walker Award watch list appearance for Dye, and third consecutive for Verdell. Oregon has had a running back earn semifinalist status for the award five times since 2010, highlighted by LaMichael James winning in 2010.

Verdell enters 2021 with 2,523 career rushing yards, good for No. 9 on the Oregon all-time list and just 23 yards away from passing Ricky Whittle (2,545, 1992-95) for No. 8. The Chula Vista, Calif., native became just the fifth Duck ever to rush for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019, and his 21 career rushing touchdowns are just two away from cracking the UO all-time top 10.

Dye was Oregon’s most productive offensive player in the shortened 2020 season, leading the Ducks with 443 rushing yards and finishing as the only Pac-12 player with at least 400 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving (239). Dye became the first UO running back since 2012 with four receiving touchdowns in a season, and he enters 2021 with 1,840 career rushing yards, 467 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.

Washington State senior running back Max Borghi was also named the Doak Walker Award Watch List, having earned the same preseason recognition that last two seasons.

Borghi appeared in one game during a shortened 2020 season, rushing for 95 yards including an eight-yard touchdown in the season-finale at Utah. The Arvada, Colo. native enters the 2021 season fourth in WSU history with 29 career total touchdowns and fifth in school history with 20 career rushing touchdowns.

As a sophomore in 2019, Borghi earned All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention after recording 1,435 all-purpose yards along with 16 total touchdowns, second-most in the league. Borghi was the only player in a Power 5 Conference with 800+ rushing yards, 550+ receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns after rushing for 817 yards and 11 touchdowns while also catching a team-high 86 passes for 597 yards and five scores. Borghi posted four 100-yard rushing games, eight games with 100+ all-purpose yards, led all Pac-12 running backs averaging 6.4 yards-per-carry and led all running backs nationally with 26 missed tackles forced after a catch.

Other Pac-12 players named to the watch list include:

  • Keaontay Ingram (Sr.), USC
  • Vavae Malepeai (Sr.), USC
  • Sean McGew (Sr.), Washington
  • Alex Fontenot (Jr.), Colorado
  • Jarek Broussard (So.), Colorado
  • Austin Jones (Jr.), Stanford

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The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name ten semifinalists in November, and three finalists, as voted on by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, will be announced in November. The committee will cast a second vote in December 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 2020 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards.

The award 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.