The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 43 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
How much of a big deal is the Doak Walker Award? That must be running through the minds of many when they read this.
Like any of these position awards (Bronko Nagurski, Davey O’Brien, Lou Groza, etc.) they sound nice or interesting, but what is their value, especially compared to the granddaddy of them all, the Heisman Trophy?
In Doak Walker’s case, the most significant aspect of the award is legendary running backs vote on the winner. The selection committee includes a distinguished list of Earl Campbell, Marcus Allen, Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Eddie George and Archie Griffin, to name a few.
To nobody’s surprise, Arizona junior Ka’Deem Carey is on this year’s Doak Walker Award watch list, which was announced this morning. The award, started in 1989, is presented annually to the nation’s best running back. In addition to legendary running backs, the selection committee is comprised of a panel of sportswriters and sports broadcasters nationwide who cover college football.
To everyone’s surprise, Carey was not one of the 10 semifinalist for the award last year despite leading the nation in rushing with 1,929 yards. Three other Pac-12 running backs were semifinalists (Kenjon Barner of Oregon, Johnathan Franklin of UCLA and Stepfan Taylor of Stanford). Montee Ball of Wisconsin won the award.
They have exhausted their eligibility and four others left early for the NFL. The returning semifinalists from last season are senior David Fluellen of Toledo and senior Venric Mark of Northwestern.
The Doak Walker Award committee requires five elements:
— Candidate plays predominantly at the running back position and has made extraordinary contributions to his team. Ka’Deem Carey, check
— Candidate is enrolled in a degree program, is in good academic standing and is on schedule to graduate. Ka’Deem Carey, check
— Candidate holds a record of good citizenship within and beyond the athletic sphere.
— Candidate has demonstrated a record of leadership. Ka’Deem Carey, check
— Candidate exhibits the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker. Ka’Deem Carey, check
The noticeable omission is holding a record of good citizenship. Carey had more than his share of off-the-field problems after the conclusion of last season. At one point, he thought about leaving the Arizona program.
Carey has this season to rectify his image. To do that, he must continue his productivity from last season and stay out of trouble. He talked about “running angry” last year. He must keep that between the white lines.
He must be aware that the media (especially those outside of Tucson) will ask questions about his past troubles and how he has matured from them. Make no mistake about it: How he represents himself off the field with the media will be as important as how many yards he gains on the field.
The NFL will also ask questions when prospective teams interview him before the draft, whether he goes pro after this season or next.
Carey is also on the Maxwell Award watch list for national player of the year. He may also be included in the Walter Camp Award watch list that is released tomorrow. That goes to the nation’s most outstanding player.
Arizona senior linebacker Jake Fischer is on the Bednarik Award watch list for defensive player of the year.
Here is the Doak Walker Award watch list with Pac-12 players in bold:
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Michael Alisa, BYU
Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
Dri Archer, Kent State
Brendan Bigelow, California
Beau Blankenship, Ohio
Alfred Blue, LSU
Dominique Brown, Louisville
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
B.J. Catalon, TCU
Orleans Darkwa, Tulane
Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
Trayion Durham, Kent State
Jahwan Edwards, Ball State
David Fluellen, Toledo
D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Marion Grice, Arizona State
Todd Gurley, Georgia
Joe Hill, Utah State
John Hubert, Kansas State
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Waymon James, TCU
Duke Johnson, Miami
Storm Johnson, UCF
Matt Jones, Florida
Henry Josey, Missouri
Ben Malena, Texas A&M
Raymond Maples, Army
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Keith Marshall, Georgia
Glasco Martin, Baylor
Tre Mason, Auburn
Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
Adam Muema, San Diego State
David Oku, Arkansas State
Branden Oliver, Buffalo
Jordan Parker, Middle Tennessee
LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
Senorise Perry, Louisville
Christian Powell, Colorado
Darrin Reaves, UAB
Silas Redd, USC
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
David Sims, Georgia Tech
James Sims, Kansas
Kiero Small, Arkansas
Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State
Jerome Smith, Syracuse
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
Trey Watts, Tulsa
Mark Weisman, Iowa
James White, Iowa State
James White, Wisconsin
Andre Williams, Boston College
Damien Williams, Oklahoma
Jamaal Williams, BYU
Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
Storm Woods, Oregon State
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Zach Zwinak, Penn State
The best Arizona player to wear No. 43, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino, is slot back Willie Peete (1956-59). Standout player who later became a UA assistant. A son, Willie III, also played with the Wildcats before transferring to Kansas, where Peete Sr. later coached. Another son, Rodney Peete, played at Sahuaro High School and later USC and the NFL.
Last year, this site ran a Top 50 Games in the history of Arizona football series at this site and TucsonCitizen.com. I will relive that list here with less than 50 days to kickoff and add one game to it: Arizona’s improbable 49-48 win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl last December. I will keep the ranking of that game secret in the new top 50 list until the day I publish it.
No. 43 — Struggling UA gets improbable win against ’83 Pac-10 champ UCLA (TucsonCitizen.com)
No. 44 — Closing chapter of “The Streak” includes Arizona’s dramatic fourth-quarter heroics
No. 45 — Arizona overcomes rival Texas Tech with unfathomable late-game rally
No. 46 — Dick Tomey, the Desert Fox, does a number on UCLA by changing offense in midseason
No. 47 — “The Streak” reaches three games, UA achieves best Pac-10 finish
No. 48 — Arizona’s first game at Arizona Stadium in 1929, a 35-0 win over Cal Tech
No. 49 — Underdog Arizona’s 2011 thriller over arch-rival Arizona State
No. 50 — Arizona’s first win over arch-rival Arizona State, then known as Territorial Normal
Dropped out — Arizona’s first win in program’s history: 22-5 over Tucson Indians
The Doak Walker Award watch list was announced Thursday. The watch-list announcements will continue through July 19. This site will update after the announcements.
The current Pac-12 breakdown (by school) of players on the watch lists:
1. Stanford 20
2. USC 18
3. Oregon 17
5. UCLA 14
6. Oregon State 11
7. Washington 6
8. Colorado 5
9. Arizona 3
11. Washington State 2
12. Utah 1
2013 COLLEGE FOOTBALL WATCH LISTS
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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.