Melvin Gordon is prohibitive favorite for Doak Walker Award

Seven of the nation's top 10 rushers, including national leader Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, were named semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back.

Gordon, who rushed for a FBS-record 408 yards last weekend in a rout of Nebraska, could be seen as the prohibitive favorite for the award, but there is a solid group of semifinalists.

The other nine candidates: Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, Boise State's Jay Ajayi, USC's Javorius "Buck" Allen, Auburn's Cameron Artis-Payne, Georgia Southern's Matt Breida, Indiana's Tevin Coleman, Pitt's James Conner, Marshall's Devon Johnson and Miami's Duke Johnson.

The most surprising omission is Minnesota's David Cobb, who is seventh nationally in rushing. Other top-10 rushers who aren't on the list are Western Michigan's Jarvion Franklin and San Diego State's Donnell Pumphrey.

Coleman is second in the nation in rushing, with Conner third, Devon Johnson fourth, Duke Johnson eighth, Abdullah ninth and Breida 10th. Ajayi is 11th, Artis-Payne 12th and Allen 15th.

Arguably the nation's most talented back isn't on the list, but that's not a surprise considering Georgia's Todd Gurley missed four games because of a suspension, then suffered a torn ACL this past Saturday in his return from the suspension.

The three finalists will be announced Monday, while the winner will be announced Dec. 11.

The Doak Walker is the only major 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.

Among the past winners are Boston College's Andre Williams in 2013, Arkansas' Darren McFadden in 2006 and '07, USC's Reggie Bush in 2005, TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000 and Texas' Ricky Williams in 1997 and '98.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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