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Royster expected to be candidate for Walker Award

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Not to worry, Penn State fans. Evan Royster will be a candidate for the Doak Walker Award this season.

Just heard back from Jeff Lockhart, the manager of athletic forum and programs for the Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum, which presents the Doak Walker Award. Lockhart explained that a nomination issue prevented Royster from being included on the watch list, an omission that surprised many, including myself.

The release date for the watch list was moved up three weeks this year, and Penn State didn't nominate Royster in time. Lockhart said an e-mail for nominations was sent to schools on July 2 and a call was placed to Penn State last week.

"Evan Royster is most definitely one of the most productive running backs returning to college this season, and we fully expect him to be an official candidate for the award," Lockhart wrote in an e-mail to ESPN.com. "Evan not being on the preseason list in no way effects his chances of winning the Doak Walker Award, and since he was a 2008 semifinalist for the award we fully expect him to be in the running again this year. We will gladly add him once he is nominated. Universities are allowed to nominate candidates through October."

Lockhart added that there are no known issues that prevented Penn State from nominating Royster.

So Royster eventually will be in the running for the Doak Walker Award, which is good news since no Big Ten back deserves it more. He could become the second consecutive Big Ten back to take home the hardware. Last year's winner, Iowa's Shonn Greene, also didn't appear on the preseason watch list.