Another July day, and another preseason honor for a Gopher football player. Minnesota redshirt junior running back Rodney Smith was placed on the Doak Walker Award watch list Thursday morning. It is Smith’s second preseason watchlist honor of the year as earlier this month he was added to the Maxwell Award Watch list. The Doak Walker Award is given to the top running back in the country to honor s accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. 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.
Smith will look to build on his 2016 season where he rushed 240 times for 1,158 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was named All-Big Ten Third Team and was named Offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl after scoring one touchdown and recording 132 all-purpose yards.
Smith is one of ten Big Ten running backs added to the watch list which also includes Iowa’s Akrum Wadley, Northwestern’s Justin Jackson, and the pre-season favorite for the award Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.