The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on Nov. 18, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 24. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on Dec. 1 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The award, in its 25th year, 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.
In 2013, Collins was named SEC Freshman of the Year, a Freshman All-American and to the SEC All-Freshman Team. He became the first freshman in SEC history to start his career with three straight 100-yard rushing games and the first true freshman in FBS since Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson in 2004. Collins became the second freshman in school history, 10th true freshman in SEC history and 68th true freshman in NCAA history to reach 1,000 rushing yards, finishing the season with 1,026 on 190 carries with four touchdowns. He added 63 yards on 11 receptions for a team-high 1,089 all-purpose yards.
Williams played in all 12 games last season, finishing with 150 rushes for 900 yards and four touchdowns. He added seven receptions for 72 yards and two scores. Williams was an honorable mention to the College Football News All-Sophomore team and was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List in 2013. He rushed for a career-high 151 yards and a 75-yard touchdown run last season against Louisiana and teamed up with Collins to produce Arkansas’ second pair of teammates to each rush for at least 900 yards in a season.
Darren McFadden won the award as a sophomore in 2006 and as a junior in 2007 at Arkansas and in 2012 Montee Ball was the winner in Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema’s final season at Wisconsin.
The recipient of the 2014 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 11, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas, Texas, in Feb. 2015.