Foreman, Dickson named finalists

D'Onta Foreman. (Will Gallagher/IT)

D’Onta Foreman. (Will Gallagher/IT)

After breakout seasons, Texas’ D’Onta Foreman and Michael Dickson are named finalists for prestigious awards this week.

Junior running back D’Onta Foreman has been named a finalist for the 2016 Doak Walker Award, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced on Monday.

Foreman, who leads the nation with 1,863 rushing yards, is averaging 186.3 rushing yards per game. He joins Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey as the three finalists. Foreman is seeking to become the third Longhorn all-time to win the award. Ricky Williams was the award’s recipient in 1997 and 1998 and Cedric Benson claimed the honor in 2004.

A native of Texas City, Texas, Foreman has rushed for 1,863 yards through 10 games, the most in the nation. He has eclipsed 100 yards in a school-record and FBS-best 12 consecutive games, breaking 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell’s record for the most in school history. Despite missing a game early in the season against UTEP, his 1,863 rushing yards rank third-most in UT history already.

Over the past four games, Foreman has gone on an historic tear. His 1,008 yards are second to just Ricky Williams’ 1,066 yards during a four-game stretch in his 1998 Heisman Trophy-winning season. Saturday at Kansas, Foreman rushed for 250 yards – his third performance with at least 250 yards in the last four games – on a school-record 51 attempts. He rushed for 341 yards – third-most in school history and the most in the country this season – at Texas Tech, which followed up a 250-yard performance against nationally-ranked Baylor. He is just the third player in UT’s 124-year history, and first since Hodges Mitchell in 2000, to register back-to-back 200 yard games.

During his 12-game, 100-yard streak, Foreman has rushed for 2,167 yards (180.6 ypg) and 18 touchdowns. More impressively, he has averaged over 6.7 yards per carry on 322 attempts during that stretch. He leads the nation with 12 straight 100-yard games and his ten 100-yard games in 2016 are also the most in the country. He has eclipsed 150 rushing yards seven times this season. More impressive have been his numbers in big games, as all 10 games this season have come against Power 5 opponents. Against Big 12 Conference opponents, Foreman has averaged 196.9 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. Against ranked foe, he is averaging 176.8 yards per game.

Foreman became the first player at Texas since Jamaal Charles in 2007 to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season when he did so against Baylor. He has raced past that mark and has his sights set on Ricky Williams’ school record for rushing yards by a junior (1,893). Foreman has scored a touchdown in eight of 10 games this season, totaling 15 on the year with six multi-TD performances. Prior to a game against Kansas State earlier this season, Foreman had scored a touchdown in seven straight games. He enters Friday’s regular season finale against TCU with 2,617 career rushing yards, 12th-most in school history. He has scored 20 touchdowns and has averaged 6.6 yards per carry on 399 attempts.

In addition to outstanding performance on the field, candidates for the Doak Walker Award must have demonstrated records of leadership and exhibited the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker.

The award is named after three-time SMU All-America running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker.  The versatile Walker, who also punted, returned kicks and kicked extra points, led the Mustangs to two Southwest Conference Championships and brought the school into the national spotlight.  Walker was drafted by the Detroit Lions and as a rookie led the league in scoring.  During his six years with the Lions, he led the team to two NFL championships and was chosen All-Pro four times.  Walker is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast another 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.

Michael Dickson. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Michael Dickson. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Sophomore punter Michael Dickson has been named a finalist for the 2016 Ray Guy Award, the Augusta Sports Council announced on Monday afternoon. The award annually recognizes the best punter in college football.

Dickson, a native of Sydney, Australia, is averaging 47.3 yards per punt through 11 games, the fourth-best average in the country and best in the Big 12 Conference. The school record for best punting average in a season is 46.6 yards per attempts set by Russell Erxleben in 1976.

He has registered 22 punts of more than 50 yards this season, which is second-most among the three finalist. Additionally, Dickson has four punts of more than 60 yards this season with a career-long of 64 yards.

In just his sophomore campaign, Dickson has not just shown off a huge leg but incredible precision. He has had 24 of 57 punts downed inside the 20, including 12 that have been downed inside the 10-yard line. He has just nine touchbacks and is allowing only 5.2 yards per return on 18 attempts, as the Longhorns rank seventh nationally in net punting average as a team.

Three times this season Dickson has recorded a single-game average that stands as one of the eight best games in school history. In the season opener, Dickson averaged 55.0 yards per punt on six attempts in a win over Notre Dame. In each of the last two weeks, Dickson has averaged more than 50 yards. Against Baylor, his 52.7 yards per punt average was the fourth-best in school history, while against Texas Tech his 51.0 yards per punt average was eighth-best.

The winner of the 2016 Ray Guy Award will be announced as part of the College Football Awards Show in Atlanta on Dec. 8.

The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors and past Ray Guy Award winners. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline, and have a positive impact on the team’s success.