Nebraska junior running back Rex Burkhead has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2011 Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back. The announcement was made Friday morning by the SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors.
Burkhead is one of two Big Ten running backs on the list, joining Wisconsin junior Montee Ball. The other semifinalists include San Diego State sophomore Ronnie Hillman, Oregon junior LaMichael James, Missouri sophomore Henry Josey, SMU junior Zach Line, Washington junior Chris Polk, Oklahoma State sophomore Joseph Randle, Alabama junior Trent Richardson and Virginia Tech junior David Wilson.
Burkhead enters Saturday's game at Penn State with 951 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. He has posted five 100-yard rushing games in 2011, and is just 49 yards from posting the 31st, 1,000-yard rushing season in school history. Burkhead has moved into the top 20 on the Nebraska career rushing list heading into the home stretch of the season.
A Plano, Texas native, Burkhead is also accomplished in the classroom, carrying a 3.38 grade-point average in history. On Thursday, he was one of five Nebraska players named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII team, and is now on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors.
Burkhead is the first Nebraska player to be a Doak Walker Award semifinalist since Dan Alexander in 2000.
The three finalists for the Doak Walker Award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 21.