DALLAS – Arizona State University football student-athletes DJ Foster and Marion Grice have both been named preseason candidates for the 2013 Doak Walker Award, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced Thursday.
The Doak Walker Award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Foster and Grice, who combined for 2,130 combined yards, including 1,172 rushing and 958 receiving, and 25 touchdowns last season, are the most productive returning backfield tandem in the Pac-12. They account for two of only five running backs in the nation this season that return with over 400 yards rushing and receiving last season.
Both running backs were 2012 Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selections, and Foster, a local product from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., earned Freshman All-America honors. Foster is one of 13 sophomores on the watch list.
Foster and Grice are heavily involved in the Scholar Baller Leadership and Outreach Program, where they help develop curriculum, deliver, teach and mentor students at South Mountain High School, Academy of Excellence and Cesar Chavez High School. They teach teenagers about developing championship character, creating a strong sense of self and becoming a great leader, among other things.
Grice’s 19 total touchdowns last season, the third-highest single season tally in ASU history, ranked as the 14th-highest mark in the country and his eight receiving scores led all FBS running backs. He averaged a touchdown every 7.58 times he touched the ball (19 TDs on 144 touches), which was the best average of any FBS player that had over 100 carries and 25 receptions.
He led the team in both rushing yards and all-purpose yards in 2012, and was named the Territorial Cup Most Valuable Player and the Offensive MVP of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Foster’s 1,026 all-purpose yards were the second most on the team last season, and his 533 receiving yards were the most of any Pac-12 running back and the third-most of all returning FBS backs this season. He finished his first season as ASU's all-time freshman leader among running backs in receptions and receiving yards, and finished only behind former All-American tight end Zach Miller for the top tallies in school history in those categories.
He tallied six touchdowns, including four receiving, and his 4.8 yards per rush were second on the team and his 14.0 yards per catch were third. He also led the team with 31 total (18 receiving and 13 rushing) "explosive plays," which the ASU coaching staff deems as rushes of 12 or more yards and receptions of 16 or more yards.
He played in all 13 games in 2012 and became one of just six true freshmen in school history to start in their first opportunity.
This is the second 2013 preseason award watch list nod for both Foster and Grice, who are also on the Hornug Award and Maxwell Award lists, respectively.
A total of nine different Sun Devils, including five on offense and four on defense, have earned nods on 13 different preseason award watch lists this summer.
2013 Sun Devil Award Watch Lists
Walker Award (nation’s most outstanding running back) – DJ Foster, Marion Grice
O’Brien Award (nation’s most outstanding quarterback) – Taylor Kelly
Butkus Award (nation’s most outstanding linebacker) – Carl Bradford, Chris Young
Lombardi (nation’s most outstanding down lineman) - Will Sutton
Thorpe Award (nation’s most outstanding defensive back) – Alden Darby
Outland Trophy (nation’s most outstanding interior lineman) – Sutton
Nagurski Trophy (national defensive player of the year) – Bradford, Sutton
Mackey Award (nation’s most outstanding tight end) – Chris Coyle
Maxwell Award (nation’s most outstanding player) – Grice, Kelly, Sutton
Bednarik Award (nation’s most outstanding defensive player) – Bradford, Sutton
Hornung Award (nation's most versatile player) - Foster
Rimington Award (nation's top center) – Kody Koebensky
Lott IMPACT Trophy (positive influence both on and off the field) – Darby
The Doak Walker Award
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on November 14, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 25. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on December 2 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2013 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 12, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas, Texas, in February 2013.
The award, in its 24nd year, is named for SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. 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.
Season Tickets On Sale
ASU opens the 2013 season on Sept. 5 at Sun Devil Stadium against Sacramento State and the remaining schedule features two conference champions, the national championship runner-up and traditional Pac-12 rivals.
To purchase season tickets or enroll in a payment plan, call the Sun Devil Athletics sales department at 480-965-5812, go online at sundeviltickets.com, or come in person to the Sun Devil ticket office, which is located on the south end of Sun Devil Stadium and is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fans can also mail a check to: Sun Devil Athletics P.O. Box 872405, Tempe, AZ 85287.