Press Release from Southern Miss Athletics
Southern Miss senior running back Ito Smith has received his third preseason accolade, this time on the watchlist for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's best running back.
The Mobile, Ala., native finished fourth in C-USA last season with 112.2 rush yards per game. His 2016 campaign began with the biggest game of his career, a 36-carry, 173-yard onslaught that helped Southern Miss to a major comeback and 44-35 win at Kentucky.
The following week, Smith bolted for a career-long 86-yard touchdown run against Savannah State that broke the M.M. Roberts Stadium record. He also added a 70-yard score in the rain the next week versus Troy to help him to his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game. That pattern remained true in the final three games of the season, as Smith upped his rushing output in each game (113 at North Texas, 127 vs. LA Tech, 138 vs. ULL).
Smith finished the season three touchdowns shy of the Southern Miss single-season record (Sammy Winder's 20 in 1980) and No. 3 in all-time purpose yards (4,629). He has scored either by ground or air in 17 of his last 18 games.
Smith is one of only two returning players nationally with over 1,000 rushing and 400 receiving yards from the previous season.
The Golden Eagles kick off the 2017 season on Sept. 2 against Kentucky at 3 p.m. Season tickets and flex plans can be purchased by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, the Pat Ferlise Center on campus during normal business hours, or calling 1-800-844-TICK.
Southern Miss Football Watch List honorees
Maxwell Award (most outstanding player) - Ito Smith, Sr.
Lou Groza Award (best kicker) - Parker Shaunfield, RJr.
John Mackey Award (best tight end) - Julian Allen, RSr.
Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player) - Allenzae Staggers, Sr.
Preseason All-Conference USA - Ito Smith and Allenzae Staggers
Biletnikoff Award (best receiver) - Allenzae Staggers
Doak Walker Award (best running back) - Ito Smith
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