Oregon's James up for award as top back award

LaMichael James is a big reason Oregon is unbeaten through 10 games and ranked No. 1 in the country, so it's no wonder he's up for a major postseason award.

The sophomore, who leads the nation in rushing, was announced Monday as one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back.

James shares finalist honors with Oklahoma State senior Kendall Hunter and Wisconsin junior John Clay. All three are expected to be present when the winner is announced Dec. 9 at The Home Depot College Football Awards at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound James, from Texarkana, Texas, is averaging an NCAA-best 158 yards per game and also leads the nation in scoring average at 12.0. He is tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 17, just one away from the Northern Illinois back Chad Spann's national lead despite playing in two fewer games.

James is tied for the NCAA lead with three games of 200 or more rushing yards on the season. His six scrimmage plays of 60-plus yards and three of 70-plus are also tied for the most in the FBS.

No Oregon player has ever won the Doak Walker Award, which has been an annual honor since 1990. Three Pac-10 players have taken home the trophy, including last year's recipient Toby Gerhart of Stanford.

Finalists for other major awards were also announced.

Cam Newton of Auburn, Andrew Luck of Stanford and Kellen Moore of Boise State are the finalists for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the best player in college football, and the Davey O'Brien Award, which honors the top quarterback.

Finalists for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the best defensive player, are Clemson end Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn tackle Nick Fairley and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the top receiver, are Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffrey.

The Outland Trophy finalists for top interior lineman are Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, Florida State guard Rodney Hudson and Colorado tackle Nate Solder.

The finalists for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the top defensive back, are Peterson, Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara and TCU safety Tejay Johnson.

The kickers who are finalists for the Lou Groza Award are Notre Dame's David Ruffer, Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey and Southern Mississippi's Danny Hrapmannn.

The punters up for the Ray Guy Award are Chas Henry of Florida, Ryan Donahue of Iowa and Drew Butler of Georgia.

Finalists for the Mackey Award, which goes to the best tight end, are Missouri's Michael Egnew, Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks and Arkansas' D.J. Williams.

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