University at Buffalo junior running backs Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks, who combined for 2,834 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns rushing last season, were both named as preseason candidates for the 2020 Doak Walker Award on Wednesday. The Walker Award is presented by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum. Walker was a local hero in Dallas for his exploits as a tailback at Highland Park High and as an SMU Mustang in the late 1940s before an NFL career on championship Detroit Lions teams.
Patterson already has been named to the Walter Camp Foundation Preseason All-America team. He is coming off a season in which he broke the UB rushing record with 1,799 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. He led the Mid-American Conference in rushing and ranked fifth in the nation. He had a UB record 289 yards and a conference record six touchdowns in a win over Bowling Green.
In two seasons, the 6-foot, 230 pound Glendale, Md., native had 2,812 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns, just one shy of the UB record. His career rushing average is 5.67 yards per carry.
Marks, 6-feet, 200 pounds from Norfolk, Va., carried for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2019 season. He rushed for more than 100 yards five times, with a high of 118 against Toledo.
Buffalo is one of nine colleges to have multiple candidates on the Doak Walker list.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name ten semifinalists in November, and then three finalists, as voted on by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, will be announced later that month. The committee will cast a second vote in December 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 2020 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards television show.
The Doak Walker Award 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.
Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin was the winner the last two years.
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