Utah State senior running back Devante Mays has been named to the 2016 Doak Walker Award Watch List, it was announced Thursday by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum and the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Mays is one of 76 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) running backs named to the preseason watch list, including one of six from the Mountain West Conference.
Along with being named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, Mays is also a preseason third-team selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele heading into the 2016 season.
Mays, a 5-foot-11, 220-pounder from Livingston, Texas (Livingston HS/Blinn JC), played in all 13 games and made six starts in his first season at Utah State in 2015 and finished the year with 165 carries for 966 yards (5.9 ypr) with nine touchdowns to lead the team in each category. He ranked third in the Mountain West and 39th nationally with his 5.9 yards per carry, which ranked ninth all-time in school history for a single season and tied for seventh all-time at USU for a career. He also ranked seventh in the conference with his nine rushing touchdowns and 10th in the league with his 74.3 rushing yards per game. Overall, he had three 100-yard rushing games during the year, highlighted by a season-best 176 yards on a season-high 22 carries against Wyoming.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinalists on Nov. 16, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the three finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 22. The committee will cast a second vote beginning Nov. 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, Dec. 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.
Utah State opens the 2016 season on Thursday, Sept. 1, at home against Weber State and begins Mountain West play on Saturday, Sept. 24, at home against Air Force.
Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.