Nov. 13, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Just like the yards he compiles on the field on Saturday's, the awards for Tulane University football standout Matt Forté keep rolling in as well as the senior running back from Slidell, La., was named a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award and one of 15 "Players To Watch" for the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Player of the Year Award on Tuesday.
Forté is one of three Conference USA student-athletes listed among the 10 Doak Walker semifinalists, joining UCF's Kevin Smith and Houston's Anthony Alridge. On the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List, Forté is one of three non-BCS league players mentioned along with UCF's Smith and Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.
"There's not a more deserving guy than Matt Forté," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "He fits the mold for all those awards because not only is he a good football player, he's a great person, he's a great leader, he's unselfish and he's humble. He's all you would ever want in a football player and he's been a joy to coach.
"It's obvious that people are becoming aware of him. Matt's made a splash, so people are starting to inquire about him. Now that people see how good he is, they're starting to elevate his status and make people realize that he is worthy of these awards. Just being mentioned for these awards sometimes is pretty impressive. Hopefully, he can be in the final group of these players and eventually get the awards as well."
Tuesday's announcements come five days after Forté was named a semifinalist for the 71st Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year. He was the only student-athlete from a non-BCS league to be named a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards and claim a spot on the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Watch List. In addition, Forté is one of just three players nationally to be named to all three lists, joining running backs Anthony McFadden of Arkansas and Ray Rice of Rutgers.
At his current pace, Forté would finish the season with the highest yards-per-game average since LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU averaged 196.2 in 2000. His projected yardage total of 2,176 would rank fourth-highest in NCAA single-season history behind Iowa State's Troy Davis (2,185 in 1996), USC's Marcus Allen (2,342 in 1981) and Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders (2,628 in 1988).
Forté owns three of the top seven individual-game rushing performances in the nation in 2007: No. 1 with 342 yards and four touchdowns vs. SMU (Oct. 20), No. 4 with 303 yards and five touchdowns vs. Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 22), and No. 7 with 278 yards and two scores vs. Memphis (Oct. 27).
He has five 200-plus yard rushing games - including a pair of 300-yard ballgames - making him the only NCAA DI-BSD player to accomplish that feat this season. Over the last eight games, Forté has run for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns - including 1,031 yards and nine scores in the month of October alone - and is averaging 210.13 yards per game during that span.
A two-time Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week honoree in 2007, Forté also holds five of the Top 64 single-game all-purpose yard performances this season and is one of only two non-quarterbacks to rank in the NCAA's Top 100 in total offense. Of the two non-QBs, Forté is tops among the pair ranking 82nd with 181.3 yards per game (all rushing).
Forté's 303 rushing yards vs. Southeastern Louisiana set a Conference USA single-game rushing record, and he broke his own mark three games later with 342 yards at SMU. His five scores against SLU is tied for the highest scoring output nationally in 2007.
The 162 members of the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast their votes this week to determine the 2007 finalists. On Monday, Nov. 19, three finalists will be named, and a second vote by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will determine the recipient. The 2007 Doak Walker Award recipient will be announced live on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 6.
A list of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, meanwhile, will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The award is voted on by the 119 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, and will be announced live on the 5 p.m. (CST) edition of ESPN's SportsCenter on Thursday, Dec. 6. The winner will then receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven, Conn.
Forté and the Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Oct. 17, when Tulane travels to Houston, Texas for a 2 p.m. C-USA showdown at Rice before closing out the 2007 season on Nov. 24 at East Carolina. Both games will be broadcast on the Tulane ISP Sports Network (local station, WIST AM 690) and both live audio and video are available via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available free of charge on the official website of Tulane Athletics.
2007 Walter Camp Player Of The Year "Players To Watch"
Player Name School Position Year Colt Brennan University of Hawaii QB Sr. Dan Connor Penn State University LB Sr. Chase Daniels University of Missouri QB Jr. Dennis Dixon University of Oregon QB Sr. Glenn Dorsey Louisiana State University DT Sr. Matt Forté Tulane University RB Sr. James Laurinaitis Ohio State University LB Jr. Darren McFadden University of Arkansas RB Jr. Ray Rice Rutgers University RB Jr. Matt Ryan Boston College QB Sr. George Selvie University of South Florida DE So. Kevin Smith University of Central Florida RB Jr. Aqib Talib University of Kansas DB Jr. Tim Tebow University of Florida QB So. Patrick White West Virginia University QB Jr.Semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award
Player Name School Year Anthony Alridge University of Houston Sr. Jamaal Charles University of Texas Jr. Matt Forté Tulane University Sr. Mike Hart University of Michigan Sr. Felix Jones University of Arkansas Jr. Darren McFadden University of Arkansas Jr. Rashard Mendenhall University of Illinois Jr. Ray Rice Rutgers University Jr. Kevin Smith University of Central Florida Jr. Jonathan Stewart University of Oregon Jr.