July 19, 2012
DALLAS - Louisiana Tech sophomore running back Hunter Lee was named to the Doak Walker Award preseason watch list by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top running back.
The field of 52 candidates is highlighted by 2011 Doak Walker Award finalist Montee Ball from the University of Wisconsin. Ball, a senior from Wentzville, Missouri, led the nation in rushing yards and scoring last season. Other nominees include 2011 semifinalists Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Zach Line (SMU) and Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State).
Lee is the fifth Louisiana Tech player to be listed on a preseason watch list joining Ryan Allen (Ray Guy Award), Chad Boyd (Jim Thorpe Award), Quinton Patton (Biletnikoff Award) and Stephen Warner (Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, Rimington Trophy).
Overall Louisiana Tech has seven award watch listees of the Western Athletic Conference’s 22 total preseason honorees, almost one-third of the entire league’s accolades. Last year the Bulldogs had a school record 11 All-WAC players and enter the 2012 season as the league’s prohibitive favorite.
Lee started the year as a walk-on after not receiving a single FBS scholarship offer out of high school and was moved to inside receiver during fall camp. As injuries plagued the running back corps, Lee was moved back to tailback in the middle of the game at Idaho with no other healthy running backs available on the roster. The Flower Mound, Texas native used that as a breakout game as he ran for 134 yards on 28 carries against the Vandals.
Overall Lee ran for 650 yards on 135 carries on the season, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns. Lee also caught 13 passes for 126 yards, averaging 9.7 yards per catch. His most significant catch of the season came late in the fourth quarter at Nevada where his 23-yard wheel route catch on 3rd-and-12 kept alive a drive that would eventually result in the game-winning touchdown for the Bulldogs after trailing the Wolf Pack 20-3 early in the quarter.
Lee also had notable rushing games with 148 yards in Tech’s WAC-title clinching 44-0 shutout of New Mexico State and caught the eyes of the nation with 127 yards rushing in Louisiana Tech’s 27-7 win at Ole Miss.
The young running back’s character was showcased following that Idaho game where he approached head coach Sonny Dykes and thanked the coach for the opportunity to play at Louisiana Tech.
His character testament continues off the field as he has volunteered his time at a Boy’s and Girl’s Club Football Camp, the Methodist Children’s Home and with Habitat for Humanity.
Louisiana Tech opens the 2012 season on Aug. 30 as the Bulldogs host Texas A&M at Shreveport's Independence Stadium. Individual tickets for that and all six home games are on sale now. Fans wishing to purchase tickets can call 318-257-3631, email TechTickets@LATech.edu or visit www.LATechSports.com.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on November 9, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 19. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 26 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 2012 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 6, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas, Texas, in February 2013.
The award, in its 23nd 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.
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2012 Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List