Dec. 11, 2008
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A magical season for University of Iowa running back Shonn Greene became a bit more surreal Thursday evening when he received the Doak Walker Award in the shadow of Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Greene rushed for a school-record 1,729 yards on 278 carries with 17 touchdowns while leading the Hawkeyes to eight victories and five wins in their final six outings. He was named first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, Big Ten Conference most valuable player by the Chicago Tribune and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Greene is the first Iowa player to win the Doak Walker Award which was originally given in 1990.
"I'm very, very honored," Greene said. "There are a lot of great backs this year and to be one of the top backs is a great honor. I'm in great company with (fellow finalists) Knowshon Moreno and Javon Ringer."
Moreno is a sophomore at the University of Georgia and Ringer is a senior at Michigan State. Ringer ranks third in the nation with 1,590 rushing yards on 370 carries and 21 touchdowns. Moreno is 16th with 1,338 yards on 227 carries and 16 scores.
"I'm not biased, but it's a no-brainer," UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "All you have to do is look at the production game-in and game-out. There are a lot of great backs out there, but if you look at game-to-game and if you look at the bottom line, it's probably pretty academic. With Shonn, you don't have to watch film, just look at the numbers. But if you watch film, then it's a no-brainer."
The only running back in the nation to rush for more than 100 yards in all 12 games, Greene ranks second in the country in rushing yards and rushing yards per game (144.08), trailing Connecticut's Donald Brown in both categories (1,822 and 151.83).
Greene is the fifth student-athlete from the Big Ten Conference to win the Doak Walker Award, joining Chris Perry of Michigan (2003), Larry Johnson of Penn State (2002), Ron Dayne of Wisconsin (1998) and Eddie George of Ohio State (1995).
"Winning a national award like this is a big deal," Greene said. "It's pretty neat when you realize that this includes all the running backs in the country. I accept this on behalf of my teammates, because they're a big part of the reason I got to this point. Our offensive line went to work every week, doing its job as well as the wide receivers and fullbacks. I'm very proud of them, they did a great job."
Greene topped the 200-yard mark twice during the season, picking up a career-high 217 yards on 25 carries with four touchdowns during a 38-16 win against Wisconsin on Oct. 18. Nearly a month later (Nov. 15) he gained 211 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns during a 22-17 win against Purdue.
"Shonn winning that award means a lot to us, too," sophomore UI left tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "It gives us a sense of pride because it shows that we were doing something right the whole season. But a lot of it was Shonn, because when he gets to the second level, he breaks a lot of tackles on his own."
Greene will return to the state of Florida in two weeks as the Hawkeyes prepare to take on South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day in Tampa.
Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes who live in the Heartland or in the Sunshine State or in all points between should note that the UI Athletics Ticket Office is accepting ticket orders for the 2009 Outback Bowl. To purchase your tickets online click HERE. Fans can also purchase via phone by calling 1-800 IA-HAWKS or over-the-counter at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
DOAK WALKER AWARD RECIPIENTS
|2008||Shonn Greene, Iowa|
|2007||Darren McFadden, Arkansas|
|2006||Darren McFadden, Arkansas|
|2005||Reggie Bush, Southern California|
|2004||Cedric Benson, Texas|
|2003||Chris Perry, Michigan|
|2002||Larry Johnson, Penn State|
|2001||Luke Staley, Brigham Young|
|2000||Ladanian Tomlinson, Texas Christian|
|1999||Ron Dayne, Wisconsin|
|1998||Ricky Williams, Texas|
|1997||Ricky Williams, Texas|
|1996||Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech|
|1995||Eddie George, Ohio State|
|1994||Rashaan Salaam, Colorado|
|1993||Bam Morris, Texas Tech|
|1992||Garrison Hearst, Georgia|
|1991||Trevor Cobb, Rice|
|1990||Greg Lewis, Washington|