A pair of Bulldogs make Doak Walker watch list

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A pair of Bulldogs make Doak Walker watch list

Zamir White (3) and James Cook (4) - Georgia vs. Murray State 2019 - September 08, 2019 - Fourth Quarter
Zamir White (3) and James Cook (4) – Georgia vs. Murray State 2019 – September 08, 2019 – Fourth Quarter

Georgia running backs Zamir White and James Cook have been named to the Doak Walker watch list, which is an award given every season to the nation’s top running back. The SEC has nine total running backs who made the list, but UGA is the only program to have two players listed.

Last season, the duo sat behind D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien, who both accounted for most of the team’s carries. Swift ended up rushing for over 1,200 yards and Herrien almost topped 500 yards. With both Swift and Herrien gone, it’s now expected that White will take over as the No. 1 back, followed by Cook in the backup role.

White was the feature back in the Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. He rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries and finished as the team’s third leading rusher with 408 yards and three scores. He returned to the field in 2019 after suffering a torn ACL on one knee in November of 2017, and the same injury to the other knee in August of 2018. He was one of Georgia’s greatest success stories last season after his return. The former five-star prospect was the nation’s No. 1 running back in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Cook signed with UGA in that same class, but hasn’t yet reached his full potential. His skillset has been greatly under-appreciated over the last two years but hopefully that will change this fall. As a freshman, the 5-foot-11 speedster had 41 carries for 284 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in eight passes for for 89 yards. Last season, Cook carried the ball 31 times for 188 yards and two scores, while catching 16 passes for 132 yards. He also returned four kickoffs for a total of 87 yards.

White is slated to be the starter at the start of the season, but will have to fend off Cook as well as several other talented backs. Sophomore Kenny McIntosh had some impressive runs last year and former four-star Kendall Milton will be a force to be reckoned with if given the opportunity. As a freshman, McIntosh had 25 carries for 174 yards and a score. Milton was a member of the 2020 recruiting class and enrolled early back in January.

In the past four seasons under Kirby Smart, Georgia has had at least one 1,000 yard rusher. Nick Chubb did it in 2016 and again in 2017 while being joined by Sony Michel. They became the first duo in school history to reach 1,000 yards or more in a season. Elijah Holyfield and Swift did in 2018, making UGA the first program in NCAA history to have four 1,000 yard rushers in consecutive seasons.

James Cook (4) - Georgia vs. Missouri 2019 - November 09, 2019 - Third Quarter
James Cook (4) – Georgia vs. Missouri 2019 – November 09, 2019 – Third Quarter

Despite having a lot of notable tailbacks over the past couple of years, the last Bulldog to win the award was in 1992 when Garrison Hearst received the honor.

Below are all 76 running backs who make up this year’s Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.

Drake Anderson (So.), Northwestern
David Bailey (Jr.), Boston College
Max Borghi (Jr.), Washington State
Rakeem Boyd (Sr.), Arkansas
Gary Brightwell (Sr.), Arizona
Kennedy Brooks (Jr.), Oklahoma
Shamari Brooks (Sr.), Tulsa
Christopher Brown, Jr. (Jr.), Cal
Journey Brown (Jr.), Penn State
Spencer Brown (Sr.), UAB
Noah Cain (So.), Penn State
Jamale Carothers (Jr.), Navy
Stephen Carr (Sr.), USC
Michael Carter (Sr.), North Carolina
Andrew Clair (Jr.), Bowling Green
Elijah Collins (So.), Michigan State
James Cook (Jr.), Georgia
Jashaun Corbin (So.), Florida State
ReMahn Davis (So.), Temple
Travis Etienne (Sr.), Clemson
Demetric Felton (Sr.), UCLA
Alex Fontenot (Jr.), Colorado
Kenneth Gainwell (So.), Memphis
Tyler Goodson (So.), Iowa
Eric Gray (So.), Tennessee
Breece Hall (So.), Iowa State
Najee Harris (Sr.), Alabama
Javian Hawkins (So.), Louisville
Justin Henderson (Sr.), Louisiana Tech
Kylin Hill (Sr.), Mississippi State
George Holani (So.), Boise State
Chuba Hubbard (Jr.), Oklahoma State
Caleb Huntley (Sr.), Ball State
Mohamed Ibrahim (Jr.), Minnesota
Keaontay Ingram (Jr.), Texas
Deon Jackson (Sr.), Duke
Jermar Jefferson (Jr.), Oregon State
Josh Johnson (Sr.), ULM
Amare Jones (Jr.), Tulane
Lopini Katoa (Jr.), BYU
Wesley Kennedy III (Sr.), Georgia Southern
JD King (Sr.), Georgia Southern
Brenden Knox (Jr.), Marshall
Bryant Koback (Jr.), Toledo
Kobe Lewis (Jr.), Central Michigan
Vavae Malepeai (Sr.), USC
Kevin Marks (Jr.), Buffalo
Jordan Mason (Jr.), Georgia Tech
Kevin Mensah (Sr.), Connecticut
Dedrick Mills (Sr.), Nebraska
Elijah Mitchell (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Marcel Murray (Jr.), Arkansas State
Richard Newton (So.), Washington
Jaret Patterson (Jr.), Buffalo
Trey Ragas (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Miles Reed (Jr.), Hawaii
Ronnie Rivers (Sr.), Fresno State
Larry Rountree III (Sr.), Missouri
Mekhi Sargent (Sr.), Iowa
Stevie Scott III (Jr.), Indiana
B.J. Smith (Sr.), Troy
Isaiah Spiller (So.), Texas A&M
SaRodorick Thompson (So.), Texas Tech
Toa Taua (Jr.), Nevada
Corey Taylor II (Sr.), Tulsa
Xazavian Valladay (Jr.), Wyoming
CJ Verdell (Jr.), Oregon
Quardraiz Wadley (Sr.), UTEP
Gaej Walker (Sr.), Western Kentucky
Kenneth Walker III (So.), Wake Forest
Jaylen Warren (Sr.), Utah State
Nakia Watson (So.), Wisconsin
Zamir White (So.), Georgia
Charles Williams (Sr.), UNLV
Javonte Williams (Jr.), North Carolina
D.J. Williams (So.), Auburn

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.