LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior running back Stanley Boom Williams has been named a preseason candidate for the 2016 Doak Walker Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s top college running back, it was announced Thursday afternoon.
Juniors Leonard Fournette of LSU and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford headline the 2016 candidate list after both were Doak Walker Award finalists a year ago. Fournette led the NCAA at 162.8 yards per game last year, while McCaffrey was the nation’s leader in all-purpose yardage (276.0 YPG). Six of the 11 semifinalists for the 2015 Doak Walker Award appear on the 2016 watch list. Nominations for the award will be accepted through October.
Williams, a product of Monroe, Ga., starred in the UK backfield for a second consecutive season in 2015. A 5-foot-9, 196-pound tailback, Williams rushed for 855 yards in 10 games in 2015, totaling six touchdowns and a school-record 7.1 yards per carry average. He had five games of over 100 yards rushing in 2015, including a career-high 140 yards on just 16 carries in a win over Charlotte. Over his two-year career, Williams has rushed 195 times for 1,341 yards (23rd on UK’s career rushing list) and 11 touchdowns, good for a sparkling 6.9 yards per carry mark. He has totaled 2,088 all-purpose yards in his career, including 236 receiving yards.
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 November 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.
Kentucky will begin the 2016 season Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET against Southern Miss at Commonwealth Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.