- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big East is a running backs league, so it's not surprising to see five players from the conference on the Doak Walker Award preseason watch list. It is a little surprising to see who some of the five are, however.
There are three surefire nominees in Pitt's Dion Lewis, the nation's leading returning rusher; West Virginia's Noel Devine, who's gunning for his third straight 1,000-yard season; and Connecticut's Jordan Todman, who had more than 1,100 yards last season and could be featured even more this year.
Louisville's Victor Anderson also made the cut, in a good recognition for what the Cardinals star did two years ago when he was last healthy. Surprisingly, though, Anderson's backfield mate, Bilal Powell, made the list; Powell is a good back but has run for fewer than 400 yards total each of the last two seasons.
And what about Syracuse's Delone Carter, who surpassed 1,000 yards as well in '09? All I can guess on that one is that players on this list were nominated by their schools, and perhaps Carter's status on the team was still up in the air when nominations were due. He was suspended until earlier this month. Otherwise, there's no reason for him not to be included.
I'd put Isaiah Pead ahead of Powell as well. Pead somehow made the Maxwell Award list but not the Doak Walker one.
Then again, this is the same award that didn't include Donald Brown as a finalist two years ago when the UConn back led the country with more than 2,000 yards, so you never know.