While the Mid-American Conference is mostly known for its quarterbacks and coaches, it has been able to produce some dynamic running backs. Thursday morning three current MAC running backs were honored as being among the top backs in the nation for the 2014 season with their inclusion on the 2014 Doak Walker Award Watch List.
The Doak Walker Award is given annually to the nation's most outstanding running back. Eastern Michigan's Bronson Hill, Northern Illinois' Cameron Stingily and Ball State's Jahwan "Quake" Edwards were among the 53 players named to the award preseason watch list.
Hill, a senior for the Eagles, rushed for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns in 2013, earning Third-Team All-MAC honors in the process. The 5-foot-10, 208-pound Hill is a powerful runner from Grand Rapids, Michigan. His most memorable performance came this past fall when a day after news broke that his teammate Demarius Reed had been murdered, Hill torched Ohio for 257 yards and one touchdown en route to a 56-28 EMU win over Ohio at home.
NIU's Stingily, also a senior, burst onto the scene in 2013 with the absence of Akeem Daniels. The powerful 6-foot-1, 244-pound Huskie back was the perfect compliment to Jordan Lynch, bowling over defenders, and showing impressive speed and agility for a running back of his size.
He compiled 1,035 yards on the ground in 2013 to go along with nine touchdowns. He rumbled his way to 266 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kent State on Oct. 5, 2013. Yet he was not selected for an All-MAC team at the end of the year.
Appearing on this list for the second consecutive year, Quake Edwards earned Second-Team All-MAC honors in 2013, despite missing two whole games early on due to a concussion. The now senior ran for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013.
In three consecutive games this past fall Edwards rushed for 325 yards and nine touchdowns. Edwards has seven career games with three or more touchdowns, an impressive stat for the 5-foot-10, 219-pound back. In his three seasons at Ball State Edwards has amassed 3,306 yards and 39 touchdowns for the Cardinals.
Three semifinalists for the 2014 Doak Walker Award will be named on Nov. 18, 2014, with a winner being announced on Nov. 24, 2014.