PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers University junior running back Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) has been named a preseason candidate for the 2005 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s top running back. It is the second-straight year in which Leonard has been nominated for the award.
In 2004, Leonard led the BIG EAST in all-purpose yards per game (125.0), starting all 10 games in which he played. He opened the season by rushing for 56 yards on RU’s first play from scrimmage of the 2004 season, setting the tone for a 19-14 win over Michigan State on Sept. 4, finishing with 150 rushing and 190 all-purpose yards vs. the Spartans. A first team All-BIG EAST selection, Leonard posted 100 or more all-purpose yards in all 10 games last season, extending his current streak to 15 games, and led Rutgers in rushing (732 yards) and was second in receiving (61). He finished the 2004 season ranked 12th on RU’s career all-purpose yardage list with 2,618, and was named to the Pro Football Weekly’s All-America First Team.
As a freshman in 2003, Leonard earned Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News and was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year by College Football News after rushing for 880 yards and catching 53 passes for 488 yards. He also scored 14 touchdowns, third-best on the single-season Rutgers list.
The Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 to recognize the nation's premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. It is the only major collegiate football award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.
Leonard’s pre-season recognition is the fourth for Rutgers this season. Senior Tres Moses (Delray Beach, FL) was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list (top wide receiver), while junior Clark Harris (Manahawkin, NJ) was named to both the Lombardi Rotary (top lineman) and Mackey Award (top tight end) lists.