Eleven games into a remarkable senior season, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish was linked with some of college football's elite players Wednesday when he was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Award.
Perhaps the sport's most prestigious award behind only the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Award is given annually to the top player in college football. Others on this year's semifinalist list including Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Oregon running back LaMichael James and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. (Find the entire list below.) The list will be cut to five finalists Nov. 30, and the trophy will be awarded Dec. 6.
Harnish is 25th in the nation (2nd in the Mid-American Conference) with 2,594 passing yards, 19th nationally (2nd in the MAC) with 22 passing touchdowns and has thrown just four interceptions.
Where he sets himself apart from many is his dual-threat ability, which has been unparalleled in the country this season. NIU's senior quarterback is eighth nationally (first among QBs) with 1,203 rushing yards, four behind James and two behind Alabama running back Trent Richardson. James and Richardson are considered strong Hesiman contenders. Harnish also has 10 rushing touchdowns, 25th-most nationally and fourth in the MAC.
With potentially three games left this season, Harnish is on pace to throw for 3,301 yards and run for 1,531. If he reaches those marks, he would be the first player in college football history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500. The closest any player has ever approached is Cam Newton's 2010 season, when he passed for 2,854 yards, rushed for 1,473 and won the Hesiman Trophy and Walter Camp Award.
Here is the list of semifinalists:
Matt Barkley, Junior, QB, USC
Justin Blackmon, Junior, WR, Oklahoma State
Morris Claiborne, Junior, DB, LSU
LaMichael James, Junior, RB, Oregon
Robert Griffin III, Senior, QB, Baylor
Chandler Harnish, Senior, QB, Northern Illinois
Landry Jones, Junior, QB, Oklahoma
Case Keenum, Senior, QB, Houston
Luke Kuechly, Junior, LB, Boston College
Andrew Luck, Senior, QB, Stanford
Kellen Moore, Senior, QB, Boise State
Trent Richardson, Junior, RB, Alabama
Sammy Watkins, Freshman, WR/KR, Clemson
Brandon Weeden, Senior, QB, Oklahoma State
Russell Wilson, Senior, QB, Wisconsin
– Ryan Wood, @rwood_DDC on Twitter, firstname.lastname@example.org