Oklahoma State's Justice Hill is one of 11 national semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented to the nation's top running back, it was announced today.
Hill is the Big 12's leading rusher with 1,198 yards and 119.8 yards per game this season. His 12 rushing touchdowns lead the Big 12 and rank 18th nationally. The Tulsa native has seven 100-yard rushing games this season. Only a sophomore, Hill already has 13 career 100-yard rushing games. That total ranks No. 1 among active FBS underclassmen.
Among the 11 Doak Walker Award semifinalists, Hill has established himself as the top performer in big games, as he has more rushing yards and more rushing touchdowns than any of the other semifinalists in games played against ranked opponents. He's also the hottest of the 10 semifinalists, as his 362 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in November both rank as the top totals among the 11 Doak Walker Award semifinalists in games played this month.
Hill's statistics stand out even more because he's a running back playing in an Oklahoma State offense that enters this week ranked second in the nation in passing with 378.9 yards per game through the air. For perspective on that, USC's Ronald Jones II plays in the second-most prolific passing offense among the semifinalists, and at 294.6 passing yards per game, the Trojans are nowhere near the Cowboys in their reliance on the pass. Six of the Doak Walker Award semifinalists have piled up their rushing stats as featured players in offenses that pass for less than 200 yards per game. Hill, meanwhile, has done most of his work in the shadow of quarterback Mason Rudolph, who is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award given to the nation's top player and receiver James Washington, who is the favorite to win the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.
In addition to performance on the field, the Doak Walker Award also takes into account achievement in the classroom, which favors Hill because he has already been named a first-team Academic All-Big 12 and CoSIDA Academic All-District performer this season. Hill is the only Doak Walker Award semifinalist who earned a position on the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District team. A finance major with a 3.86 grade point average, Hill is eligible to earn a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-America team when it is announced later in the season.
The Doak Walker Award list will be trimmed to three finalists after this week's games.
2017 Doak Walker Award Semifinalists
Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Royce Freeman, Oregon
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
Ronald Jones II, USC
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Bryce Love, Stanford
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Devin Singletary, FAU
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin