We can add one more name to the preseason watch list: sophomore running back Lyle McCombs has been named a candidate for the 2012 Doak Walker Award, UConn announced in a statement Thursday.
Walker now joins teammates Ryan Griffin, Trevardo Williams and Sio Moore to earn such summertime distinctions ahead of the 2012 season. McCombs came out of nowhere as a freshman to carry the Huskies offense, one that was adapting to new coaches, a new scheme and a new, inexperienced quarterback. By the time it was done, McCombs had rushed for 1,151 yards (the seventh UConn player to do do) and seven touchdowns. He was named to the Freshman All-American team by the FWAA, and a was a second-team Big East player as well.
This year's team should be more balanced, but that won't lessen McCombs' importance. He not only provides a viable option if the passing game isn't working, his ability to effectively run the ball helps set up the pass.
More details via the university's press release:
"The field of 52 candidates is highlighted by 2011 Doak Walker Award finalist Montee Ball from the University of Wisconsin. Ball, a senior from Wentzville, Missouri, led the nation in rushing yards and scoring last season. Other nominees include 2011 semifinalists Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Zach Line (SMU) and Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State)."
McCombs has now been named to the Doak Walker watch list in addition to the Maxwell watch list, awarded annually to the nation's best college player.