Ferguson on Doak Walker watch list
Illinois running back Josh Ferguson became a versatile option for the Illini offense last season.
College football is taking note.
Ferguson was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list on Thursday, one of eight Big Ten running backs on the 53-player list.
He joins Ameer Abdullah from Nebraska, Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak from Penn State, David Cobb from Minnesota, Tevin Coleman from Indiana, Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin and Jeremy Langford from Michigan State.
Abdullah is the leading returning rusher in the country after he amassed 1,690 yards last season. Gordon and Mike Davis from South Carolina were semifinalists for the award last year, which was won by Andre Williams from Boston College.
The Joliet Catholic product rushed for a team-high 779 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 50 receptions for 535 yards and four touchdowns.
The 535 receiving yards set a single-season record for receiving yards by a running back.
Semifinalists for the award will be named on Nov. 18, with finalists picked on Nov. 24 before the award is handed out on Dec. 11.
Illinois has never had a running back claim the award, named after the former SMU running back.
The Big Ten has produced six winners since the award was first handed out in 1990.
Montee Ball from Wisconsin won the honor in 2012, and he was preceded by Iowa's Shonn Green (2008), Michigan's Chris Perry (2003), Penn State's Larry Johnson (2002), Wisconsin's Ron Dayen (1999) and Ohio State's Eddie George (1995).