Reggie Corbin, Khalen Saunders

Illinois running back Reggie Corbin (2) runs the ball under pressure from Western Illinois defensive lineman Khalen Saunders (99) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

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CHAMPAIGN — All Reggie Corbin apparently needed was the opportunity. The Illinois running back bounced back to the top of the depth chart in 2018 and more than took advantage, rushing for a career high 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns.

Corbin's reward so far? Two preseason honors. The redshirt senior was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list on Wednesday after being named to the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday. The Doak Walker Award is given annually to the top running back in the nation. Last year's winner — Wisconsin junior Jonathan Taylor — is back for another season with the Badgers.

Other Big Ten running backs on the initial list of candidates include Northwestern sophomore Isaiah Bowser, Ohio State junior J.K. Dobbins, Minnesota sophomore Mohamed Ibrahim, Maryland sophomore Anthony McFarland Jr., Iowa junior Mekhi Sargent, Indiana sophomore Stevie Scott III and Minnesota senior Rodney Smith.

Former Illinois running back KeShawn Vaughn was also named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. Now at Vanderbilt, the redshirt senior running back rushed for 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns last season with the Commodores.

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).