Staley named Doak Walker Award Finalist

Luke Staley

DALLAS -- The SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors today announced the three finalists for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. In alphabetical order, the are Bruce Perry of Maryland, Lucas Staley of Brigham Young and Travis Stephens of Tenessee.

"Our three finalists are not only solid citizens and fantastic role models, they happen to be fine running backs as well," said Randall Goss, Chairman of the SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors. "These three young men are exceptional athletes, epitomizing the enduring spirit of true sportsmanship. They have represented their universities, their communities and NCAA college football with a full measure of honor, respectability and integrity. We are honored to recognize their great accomplishments on and off the field."

Perry, a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pa., helped the Terrapins to their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 1985, rushing for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had five 100-yard games during the season.

Staley, a junior from Tualatin, Ore., ranks second in the nation in rushing, averaging 143.3 yards per game. He has helped pace the seventh-ranked Cougars to a perfect 11-0 record on the season, scoring a BYU single-season record 28 touchdowns. Staley leads the nation in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per contest. Averaging over 8.5 yards per carry, Staley has racked up a BYU single-season record 1,433 yards rushing on the season. Against Tulane, in the Cougars' season-opener, Staley averaged a BYU single-game record 14.2 yards per carry. He has racked up eight 100-yard rushing games on the season, including a career-high 207 yards on 23 carries against in-state rival Utah State. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound speedster has produced at least one touchdown in 22-of-29 games throughout his career, and has tallied 14 multiple-scoring games, including eight multiple-scoring games this season. Staley tied a BYU record with five touchdowns against Utah State and Colorado State during the season.

Luke Staley crosses the goal line against Air Force for one of his record-setting 28 TD's this season. (BYU Photo / Mark Philbrick)

"I believe Luke is very deserving of this recognition," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "He has displayed outstanding character on and off the field, has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout the season and is a vital part of the success we have been able to achieve this season as a team. Athletically, he has demonstrated on a consistent basis, his ability to perform at the highest level. He has shown, week in and week out, that his is one of the top running backs in the country."

Stephens, a senior from Clarksville, Tenn., leads the SEC in rushing, averaging 120.1 yards per game.

The winner of the 2001 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which will air on ESPN at 9 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2001.

The 2001 winner will be honored at the Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet on Monday, January 28, 2002 in the Regency Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

THE DOAK WALKER AWARD

The prestigious Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 to recognize the nation's premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. It is the only major collegiate football 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.

Winners

1990 Greg Lewis - Washington

1991 Trevor Cobb - Rice

1992 Garrison Hearst - Georgia

1993 Byron "Bam" Morris - Texas Tech

1994 Rashaan Salaam - Colorado

1995 Eddie George - Ohio State

1996 Byron Hanspard - Texas Tech

1997 Ricky Williams - Texas

1998 Ricky Williams - Texas

1999 Ron Dayne - Wisconsin

2000 LaDainian Tomlinson - TCU

Selection Process

Each spring, all NCAA Division I-A colleges and universities may nominate a single running back from their respective football teams who satisfies the following selection criteria:

o Candidate is an academic sophomore, junior, senior or fifth-year senior.

o Candidate plays predominantly at the running back position and has made extraordinary contributions to his team.

o Candidate is enrolled in a degree program, is in good academic standing and is on schedule to graduate.

o Candidate holds a record of good citizenship within and beyond the athletic sphere.

o Candidate has demonstrated a record of leadership.

o Candidate exhibits the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker.

In early October, each Division I-A college or university is given the additional opportunity to nominate a candidate or to nominate a replacement for a pre-season candidate who may not have performed according to preseason expectations.

Throughout the season, statistical updates are compiled by the Forum office and released to the media and National Selection Committee, which includes sportswriters, television commentators, analysts, radio sports personalities and former All-America and NFL All-Pro football players.

Prior to the final weekend of the college football season, the Southwestern BelloSMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors convenes to review the achievements of all candidates and to select eight semifinalists for the Award. The following day, the files of the semifinalists are forwarded to the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee, who then narrows the field to three finalists and determines the winner.

The winner of the Award is announced live on ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards Show, and presented with the Award at the Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet in Dallas.

Doak Walker epitomized leadership, sportsmanship, and academic and athletic achievement during his storied career at SMU in the late 1940's. Gracing the covers of numerous national magazines, "the Doaker" was a national phenomenon. The versatile Walker, who also punted, returned punts and kickoffs, and kicked extra points, earned All-America honors in 1947, 1948 and 1949. After starting as a freshman in 1945, he missed the 1946 season due to his service in the army; however, by his junior season, his exploits on the field had become legendary, and in 1948, Walker became the first junior to win the Heisman Trophy.

Because of extraordinary fan interest in Walker, who led the Mustangs to Southwest Conference championships and Cotton Bowl appearances in the 1947 and 1948 seasons, SMU moved its home football games from campus to an expanded Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl recognized Walker's achievements with a plaque at its main entrance that reads: "The Cotton Bowl, the House that Doak Built."

Walker received his degree on schedule before reporting to the Detroit Lions for his rookie season in 1950. As a rookie, he led the NFL in scoring with 128 points. During his six years with the Lions, he led the team to NFL championships in 1952 and 1953 and was chosen All-Pro four times. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. Prior to this season, Walker's jersey number 37 was the sole number in the history of SMU athletics to be retired.

On September 27, 1998, 50 years to the day after appearing on the cover of Life Magazine, Walker passed away due to complications from a skiing accident.

STALEY QUICK FACTS

• Leads the nation in scoring, averaging 17.0

points per game

• Ranks second in the nation in rushing yards

per carry, averaging 8.4 yards per touch

• Ranks 2nd nationally in yards per game,

averaging 143.3 yards per contest

• Has tallied 14 multiple-scoring games over

his career

• Has produced at least one touchdown in

22-of-29 career games.

• Named MWC Player of the Week after posting

207 yards and five TDs against USU.

• Named MWC Player of the Week after posting

196 yards and five TDs against CSU.

• Named MWC Player of the Week after posting

172 yards and four TDs against Wyoming.

• Named Sporting News Nissan Frontier National

Player of the Week (Nov. 11)

• Named Football News First Team All-American

• Has 2,344 career rushing yards

• Has 1,433 yards rushing this season -- a career high.

• Has produced 290 career points

STALEY RECORD WATCH

• Twice tied BYU single-game record with 30 points

(vs. Utah State; vs. Colorado State)

• Twice tied BYU school record with five touchdowns

(vs. Utah State; vs. Colorado State)

• Set BYU single-season touchdown record with 28 TDs (2001)

• Set BYU single-game record with 14.2 yards per

carry (vs. Tulane; 10-for-142)

• Set BYU single-season scoring record with 170 points scored

• On pace to set single-season yards per carry record,

averaging 8.5 y/c

• Set BYU career touchdown scoring record (48).

• Set BYU's single-season rushing record with 1,433 yards

• Needs just 626 yards to become all-time leading

career rusher

• Beacame BYU's first 1,000-yd rusher since 1998

(Jenkins; 1,307)

• Needs 43 points to become BYU's all-time leading scorer

• Became BYU's all-time (non-kicker) leading scorer (288)

2001 Game-by-Game Stats

Game No. Yds TD Long Avg./Carry

Tulane 10 142 3 65 14.2

Nevada 10 124 2 44 12.4

California 9 47 0 19 5.2

UNLV 15 77 0 23 5.1

Utah State 23 207 4 37 9.0

Air Force 14 134 2 32 9.6

San Diego State 17 165 3 63 9.7

Colorado State 22 196 5 44 8.9

Wyoming 31 172 4 55 5.5

Utah 17 169 1 54 9.9