BOONE — Appalachian State football has three more players on national award watch lists, with Camerun Peoples, Henry Pearson and Baer Hunter each getting nods.
Running back Peoples is on the watch list for the 2021 Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s best college running back.
In 15 career games, Peoples has totaled 1,311 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Despite making just five starts last season, he rushed for a league-high 1,124 yards (10th nationally) with 12 touchdowns (13th nationally) and averaged 6.7 yards per rush, making him one of just 14 players nationally to rush for 500-plus yards with a per-carry average that high.
The 2020 season saw Peoples tie Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson for the FBS lead in rushes of 50 or more yards (five) and led the nation with four rushes of 60-plus yards.
With App State looking to make it nine straight years producing a 1,000-yard rusher — now the longest streak among FBS programs — Peoples reached that plateau by running for an NCAA bowl-record 317 yards and five touchdowns on just 22 carries in the Myrtle Beach Bowl victory against North Texas.
The award is named for Southern Methodist’s three-time All-American and Heisman winning running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification. Previous winners include Najee Harris in 2020, LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000 and Ricky Williams in 1997 and 1998.
Pearson has been named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s best college tight end.
The award is named after NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey, who is considered by many to be the best tight end in football history.
Pearson had four touchdown catches in his final five games of an injury-interrupted 2020 season. He finished the year with 16 catches for 180 yards in nine games, capping the season with touchdown catches of 22 and 11 yards in the Myrtle Beach Bowl win against North Texas.
Pearson recorded six catches for 109 yards over the final two games and increased his career total to six touchdown receptions.
Last but not least, Hunter has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top center.
The super senior is a two-time All-Sun Belt selection who moved to center in the spring after starting the last 31 games at right guard. Change isn’t new to him, though, considering he began his App State career as a defensive lineman and spent time at tight end before becoming a standout offensive lineman who has 38 total starts entering the 2021 season.
“The transition has been great,” Hunter said Thursday at Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans. “You guys will be able to see all the hard work I’ve put in. The motivation behind it? I love my teammates, and I love Appalachian State.”
A member of the Outland Trophy watch list last season, Hunter earned first-team All-Sun Belt recognition from the league and led the Mountaineers in knockdown blocks after posting 68 during the 11-game regular season. He helped App State rank seventh nationally by rushing for 264.9 yards per game, including 500 in the Myrtle Beach Bowl win against North Texas.
Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only two-time winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.