College Sports

West graduate Brian Hill semifinalist for national college award

Belleville West graduate and Wyoming running back Brian Hill, shown here running for a touchdown against Nevada earlier this season, is one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)
Belleville West graduate and Wyoming running back Brian Hill, shown here running for a touchdown against Nevada earlier this season, is one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes) AP

For the second straight year, Belleville West graduate and University of Wyoming junior running back Brian Hill is considered one of the nation’s top running backs.

Hill was recently named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top running back. Hill also was a semifinalist last season as a sophomore.

Hill currently ranks third in the nation in rushing average (140.7 yards per game) and total rushing yards (1,5148 yards). He’s also fourth in the country with 18 rushing touchdowns, 13th in the country in scoring (9.8 points per game) and 15th nationally in all-purpose yards per game (143.5).

With 131 yards and two touchdowns Saturday in the Cowboys’ thrilling 34-33 win over 24th-ranked San Diego State, Hill is 83 yards away from breaking his own single-season rushing record of 1,631 yards he set last season. In less than three seasons he is already is Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher and third in Mountain West history with 3,975 career rushing yards.

Hill’s two TDs Saturday gave him a school-record 18 this season. His 131-yard rushing day marked the first time San Diego State had allowed an opposing back to surpass 100 yards this season,

Hill is one of three Mountain West Conference running backs among the 10 Doak Walker semifinalists. The others are Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State and Jeremy McNichols of Boise State.

The other semifinalists are Penn State sophomore Saquon Barkley, Florida State junior Dalvin Cook, Texas junior D’Onta Foreman, LSU junior Leonard Fournette, Texas-El Paso junior Aaron Jones, Stanford junior Christian McCaffrey and Auburn sophomore Kamryn Pettway.

Another Doak Walker vote will take place after this week’s games, leaving three finalists that will be named Nov. 22, The Doak Walker Award winner will be announced live on ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.

To determine the 2016 finalists, members of the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast their votes after this week’s games. Three finalists for the award will be named Tuesday, Nov. 22. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast a second vote to select the 2016 award recipient. The 2016 Doak Walker Award recipient will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 8 on ESPN. 

Pumphrey has 6,127 career rushing yards, No. 1 in the history of the Mountain West Conference. He is chasing the NCAA career rushing record of 6,397 yards set by former Wisconsin back Ron Dayne.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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