This time last year, David Cobb was a third-stringer. 365 days and 1,202 rushing yards later, Cobb is not only the likely starting running back for the Gophers this upcoming season but also on the Doak Walker Award watch list. The Doak Walker Award is annually given to the nation's top running back.
53 players were named to the watch list, including eight backs from the Big Ten:
David Cobb, Minnesota
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Josh Ferguson, Illinois
Bill Belton, Penn State
Zach Swinak, Penn State
Iowa's Mark Weisman was left off the list after rushing for 975 yards last season. Weisman has been a thorn in the Gophers' side the past two seasons, finishing with 177 rushing yards off of 21 carries in a 31-13 win over the Gophers in 2012. Last year, Weisman tallied 147 rushing yards on 24 carries as Iowa topped Minnesota 23-7.
Gordon and Abdullah were two of ten semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award last season. Abdullah led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,690 yards. Gordon, who likely would have been selected in May's NFL Draft, came back to Wisconsin for his junior season. He finished second in the conference in rushing at 1,609 yards and is one of the favorites to win the Doak Walker Award this time around.