Given to the nation’s top college running back, the award is named in honor of SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker.
“I think it’s great for Chad,” NIU head coach Jerry Kill said. “Chad has worked hard and he’s quite a story, going from walk-on-player to an all-conference player to a guy that’s up for the Doak Walker Award. I hope he’ll continue to do all the things necessary this season to be successful as he has throughout his career.”
A native of Indianapolis, Spann earned first team All-MAC honors after rushing for a career-high 1,038 on 179 carries in 2009. He ranked fourth in the league in rushing, averaging 79.8 yards a game and 5.8 yards per carry. He led the team in scoring, rushing and all purpose yards with 1,160 and averaging 89.2 yards a game. His 19 rushing touchdowns tied NIU’s single season record for rushing scores and he ranked second in the MAC and tied for 12th in the nation in scoring with 120 points.
Spann, a product of North Central High School, posted eight multi-touchdown games, including a career-high three rushing TDs against Western Michigan last season. He recorded four 100-yard performances during the year, including a career-high 174 yards on 11 carries and a career-long 79-yard touchdown run against Eastern Michigan. He also totaled 122 yards receiving on 10 receptions and one touchdown. Spann enters the 2009 campaign ranked 24th in NIU history for career rushing yards with 1,528.
The Huskie senior is one of four MAC running backs to be named a candidate for the 21st annual Doak Walker Award. Eugene Jarvis of Kent State, Ball State’s MiQuale Lewis and Bernard Pierce of Temple joined Spann on the list.