FOOTBALL: Robert Turbin was named to the 2011 Doak Walker Award, honoring the nation's top college running back, announced Friday by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum.
Turbin is one of 51 candidates in the field for the award. Ten semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 11 and the recipient will be named live on ESPN on Dec. 8. The list includes two Western Athletic Conference running backs, as Turbin is joined by Louisiana Tech's Lennon Creer. Turbin is also one of two running backs from the state of Utah on the list, joined by BYU's JJ Di Luigi.
"It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the top running backs in the country. I am truly honored and very humbled by this recognition," Turbin said. "It is a nice reward for all the hard work and the hours of rehabbing from my injury, running and lifting. This is a tremendous recognition for our program and we are looking forward to having a great season."
Turbin is the first USU running back on the Doak Walker Award Watch List since Aggie legend Emmett White in 2001.
Turbin, a Fremont, Calif., native, missed all of last season with a knee injury, but is expected to make full recovery and return to his school-record setting form from 2009 when he ranked third in the WAC and 20th in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in rushing with 108.0 ypg, as well as third in the league and 32nd in the nation in all-purpose yards with 142.8 ypg. Turbin finished with 1,296 rushing yards, becoming the first USU back with 1,500 for a career since White (1998-01), who finished with 2,791 yards. The 1,296 yards rank eighth on the Aggies' single-season rushing list, right behind White's 1,322 yards in 2000 at No. 7. With 1,798 career rushing yards, Turbin is currently No. 11 on the USU career rushing list, 22 behind Jack Hill's 1,820 yards (1952, 55-56) at the No. 10 spot.
"Robert had a tremendous season in 2009 and for him to be honored after missing last season with his injury is recognition of the hard work he did in recovering from that injury. It shows that all of his hard work with his rehab paid off with this preseason honor," USU head coach Gary Andersen said. "We are very happy for Robert, this is a well-deserved honor. He is a leader for not only the offense, but our entire team. We look for him to have a great season as a reward for all of his hard work and dedication to our program."