ASU's Oku on Doak Walker Award watch list
Oku (Midwest City, Okla.) is one of 63 preseason candidates for the prestigious award, now in its 24th year and presented annually to the nation's top college running back. Oku is also a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference (SBC) selection and has been tabbed to the league's preseason first team by College Sports Madness, Athlon Sports, Lindy's, Phil Steele's and Sporting News.
The 2012 first team All-Sun Belt Conference pick is ranked No. 7 in Lindy's "Top 10 NFL Talent" in the SBC and tabbed as the top all-around threat in the league according to USA Today's Arkansas State preview that ranked the Red Wolves' No. 55 in the nation heading into the 2013 campaign. Additionally, the 2013 Hooten's Arkansas Football annual featured Oku on one of its regional covers.
Oku is the third player in A-State history to make his way onto the preseason watch list and the first since Reggie Arnold, the Red Wolves' second all-time leading rusher, in 2009. Arnold was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List three times (2007-09), while Jonathan Adams was a preseason candidate in 2000 and 2001. Adams is A-State's fourth all-time leading rusher.
The 2012 season saw Oku post 1,061 rushing yards, which were the 10th most in school history for a single season and the highest total by an A-State player since Arnold picked up 1,074 in 2008. He ended the season as the nation's 59th-leading rusher and tied for 52nd in scoring.
Oku recorded 16 rushing touchdowns that were the third most ever by an ASU player, sixth most in Sun Belt history and ranked tied for 13th in the nation. His 16 rushing touchdowns as a junior were the most by an A-State player since David Hines picked up 16 as well in 1975.
Oku ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in total rushing yards and third in rushing yards per game (81.6 ypg), while also leading the league in scoring touchdowns (16 rush/1 receiving) and ranking tied for second in scoring (8.0 ppg). He totaled 1,291 all-purpose yards (99.3 ypg), the fourth highest total in the league.
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name the semifinalists on Nov. 14, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 25. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on Dec. 2 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 2013 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 12, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas, Texas, in Feb. 2013.
Following A-State's fall camp, the Red Wolves will open their 2013 campaign Aug. 31 with a home game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Season tickets for A-State's 2013 campaign remain on sale and may be purchased by contacting the ASU ticket office at 870-972-2781 or by visiting astateredwolves.com.