Melvin Gordon, Marcus Mariota top list of Camp semifinalists

Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are two of the 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Award, given annually to the nation's top player.

Last season's winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, also is one of the semifinalists.

The rest of the field: Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins, Louisville free safety Gerod Holliman, Miami tailback Duke Johnson, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, Washington RB/LB Shaq Thompson and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.

While it's a list with a lot of familiar names, it also contains some puzzling omissions. It's obvious that stats play a role, with the inclusion of Holliman (who leads the nation in interceptions), Higgins (the leader in receiving yards per game and in receiving TDs) and Wright (who is among the national leaders in sacks and tackles for loss), all of whom deserve notice. In that vein, though, where is Indiana tailback Tevin Coleman, who is second nationally in rushing -- and averages 33 more rushing yards per game than Johnson despite having no help on offense? Or Washington defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha and Utah defensive end Nate Orchard, national co-leaders in sacks while playing in the same league as Wright? In addition, Kikaha and Orchard play on defenses significantly better statistically than Wright.

Still, Gordon and Mariota would seem to be the Camp favorites, just as they are the Heisman front-runners. But while both those awards go to the player of the year, they rarely have matched up this century.

For instance, in 2012, the Camp winner was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, while the Heisman winner was Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. In 2011, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck won the Camp and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III won the Heisman. Other recent seasons in which the Camp and Heisman winners differed were 2009, '08, '07, '03, '02 and '00.

This season's three finalists will be announced Dec. 3, with the winner being announced Dec. 11. FBS coaches and sports information directors vote on the award.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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