Franklin, Locke named award semifinalists

Not much surprise here considering the seasons they’ve both had, but seniors Johnathan Franklin and Jeff Locke have been listed among the nation’s top 10 at their respective positions.

Franklin is a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award. The other Pac-12 representatives are Oregon’s Kenjon Barner and Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, tying the Big Ten with three players on the list. If any member of the trio takes the trophy, it would give the conference its third winner in four years. Alabama’s Trent Richardson won last year after LaMichael James (Oregon) and Toby Gerhart (Stanford).

Franklin has a shot at being one of the three finalists and is UCLA’s new leading career rusher, but his rushing scores put him in an 18-way tie for 48th nationally. Right now, it’s hard to see anyone other than Barner winning outright. The explosive Ducks back is second in the country in both yards per game (143.89) and rushing touchdowns (19). He’s also coming off a monstrous 321-yard, five-touchdown performance that boosted his Heisman credentials.

Locke, who was also a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as a freshman, leads the Pac-12 in with 24 punts landed inside the 20-yard line. His average 42.94 yards per kick is just 21st in the country, but his punts are rarely result in opposing yardage: 24 of 49 have resulted in fair catches, and only eight have been returned (6.4-yard average). ASU’s Josh Hubner joins him as a conference rep. No one from the Pac-12 (or Pac-10) has ever won the award, which was first given out in 2000.

Both awards will name finalists on Nov. 19, and the winner on Dec. 6. The complete list of semifinalists:

Doak Walker: Montee Ball (Sr.) Wisconsin; Kenjon Barner (Sr.) Oregon; Le’Veon Bell (Jr.) Michigan State; Giovani Bernard (So.) North Carolina; David Fluellen (Jr.) Toledo; Johnathan Franklin (Sr.) UCLA; Stefphon Jefferson (Jr.) Nevada; Venric Mark (Jr.) Northwestern; Joseph Randle (Jr.) Oklahoma State; Stepfan Taylor (Sr.) Stanford.

Ray Guy: Ryan Allen (Sr.) – Louisiana Tech; Kyle Christy (So.) – Florida; Steven Clark (Jr.) – Auburn; Josh Hubner (Sr.) – Arizona State; Scott Kovanda (Sr.) – Ball State; Jeff Locke (Sr.) – UCLA; Riley Stephenson (Sr.) – BYU; Kirby Van Der Kamp (Jr.) – Iowa State; Tyler Williams (Fr.) – Marshall; Brad Wing (So.) – LSU.