Oct 27, 2012; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Venric Mark (5) rushes the ball against Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Christian Kirksey (20) during the second half at Ryan Field. Northwestern defeats Iowa 28-17. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Venric Mark named to Doak Walker Award watch list

Northwestern senior Venric Mark has been named to the watch list for the 24th annual Doak Walker Award, it was announced Thursday by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum.

The Doak Walker Award, named in honor of SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker, has been give to the nation’s top college running back. 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.

During his junior season Mark was a second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back for recording 1,366 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He was also named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award and the 2012 season Northwestern Offensive MVP.

Mark also served as the Northwestern punt return specialist, averaging 18.7 yards per punt and two touchdown returns for which he was named first-team All-American as a punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America. His all-purpose yard total (2,137) was short by 29 yards of setting the school record in a season, he did rank No. 1 in the Big Ten with 166.6 all-purpose yards per game.

Semifinalists for the Walker Award will be announced Nov. 14 by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors, while the finalists will be determined by votes from the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee on Nov. 25. The committee will cast a second vote on Dec. 2 to determine the award winner. The committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-American running backs, media members and selected special representatives.

The winner of the 2013 Walker Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 12 and the Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas in February.

The Doak Walker Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-period in the month of July:

Mon., July 8: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
Tue., July 9: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Wed., July 10: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Thu., July 11: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Fri., July 12: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 15: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Tue., July 16: Biletnikoff Award
Wed., July 17: Davey O’Brien Award
Thu., July 18: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 19: Walter Camp Award

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