Mountain West Football: Seven Named To Doak Walker Award Watch List
The Mountain West is stacked with talented running backs in 2020, seven of whom were named among the nation’s best to watch.
Flush with backfield talent.
College football’s watch list season continued today with the reveal of athletes in the running for the Doak Walker Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best running back. It’s no secret that the Mountain West has an embarrassment of riches at the position, so it’s not a surprise that the conference landed a whopping seven different players among the 80 on the overall list.
Two of the seven Mountain West backs on the 2020 list were also on the preseason list last year. Nevada’s Toa Taua contributed 992 yards from scrimmage in his sophomore year for the Wolf Pack, accounting for six touchdowns, while Fresno State’s Ronnie Rivers ran for 899 yards and led all conference running backs with 43 catches, 348 receiving yards, and 16 total touchdowns.
Three of the four players who ran for 1,000 yards in 2019 are among the newcomers, headlined by Wyoming’s Xazavian Valladay. The conference’s rushing champion ran for 1,265 yards and scored six touchdowns last fall. UNLV’s Charles Williams finished right behind him with 1,257 rushing yards and trailed only Rivers among Mountain West running backs with 11 rushing touchdowns, while Boise State’s George Holani finished with 1,014 yards and seven touchdowns, extending the program’s famed streak of 1,000-yard rushers to twelve years in a row, and chipped in with 26 catches for 206 yards, as well.
Hawaii’s Miles Reed proved to be a critical difference maker despite not hitting that benchmark, providing explosiveness on the ground for the West division champions in 2019. He ran for 908 yards and scored eight touchdowns last fall.
Lastly, Utah State’s Jaylen Warren may have been in a timeshare last fall, but he made as much of his chances as anyone in the conference. Despite receiving just 112 carries, Warren ran for 569 yards and five touchdowns.
One surprising omission from the list is Air Force’s Kadin Remsberg, who finished third in the Mountain West with 1,050 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry while scoring eight touchdowns. As was the case for San Diego State running back Juwan Washington last year, individual athletic departments are responsible for putting forth the names on the preseason list, so there’s a good chance Remsberg’s name will be added if/when the season gets underway.
Last year’s Doak Walker Award winner was Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.