USC running back Curtis McNeal garnered a spot on the Doak Walker watch list, which came out on Thursday.
This is McNeal’s first nomination for the award, given to the nation’s most outstanding running back. In 2011, McNeal flew under the radar for most of his career with USC, but he blossomed into a premiere running back in the 2011 season when he got the chance to lead the ground game after Marc Tyler got injured. He lit up the turf for 1,005 yards and six touchdowns on just 145 carries in 2011, averaging almost seven yards per carry. He had an incredible game against Stanford during regulation time, putting the team on his back and really showing just what he was capable of.
Aside from McNeal, seven other Pac-12ers made the Doak Walker watch list, including Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, and UCLA’s Jonathan Franklin.
McNeal is expected to lead USC’s ground assault again in 2012, resuming his role as the every down back that always pushes for that extra yard.
In 2011, the Doak Walker award went to Alabama’s Trent Richardson. The last Trojan to win it was Reggie Bush in 2005.