The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Benson honored with award

The past and future of football converged last night at the 2004 Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet. Members of the head table included 1976 Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, current Dallas Cowboy Dat Nguyen, former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, former SMU standouts Jerry Levias and Eric Dickerson, and current Texas head coach Mack Brown. Also in attendance were current Texas A&M coach Dennis Francione and former UT running back Earl Campbell.

Texas running back Cedric Benson was honored with the 2004 Doak Walker Award while former Texas A&M running back and 1957 Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow was awarded the 2004 PricewaterhouseCoopers Doak Walker Legends Award. Additionally, Crow is the only player from Texas A&M to ever win a Heisman Trophy.

Speaking of the awards, keynote speakers and ESPN commentators Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit gave their opinions on the award.

“It’s not only a tribute to someone who’s had a phenomenal career, it’s someone who carries himself well on and off the field,” Corso said.

“[The award] reaches back into the great history of this sport,” Herbstreit added.

Crow was honored with his award first. According to his colleague Slocum, what separated Crow from other players was his toughness on the field.

“He was a physical guy,” Slocum said. “John David’s a tough guy.”

Off the field, Slocum said that Crow was a different person.

“He’s one of the most caring, sincere people I’ve ever met,” he said. “Doak would be very proud that John David’s receiving this award tonight.”

After accepting his award, Crow first thanked his wife, children and grandchildren.

“For this to happen to me at this stage in my life is unbelievable,” Crow said.

He remembered watching Walker playing for SMU’s and idolizing him as a small child.

“This is really special,” he said.

Asked if he had any advice for Benson in his future, Crow said he would “like to talk to him about his bonus that he’s fixing to get.”

“I just want to wish him all the luck in the world,” he added. “I hope he makes a lot of money, but always remembers where he came from.”

After Crow received his award, Benson’s coach, Brown, spoke on Benson’s success while at UT including four 1,000-yard seasons (the first Longhorn and fifth NCAA player to do so), 64 touchdowns (No. 3 in Division I history) and Benson’s record of 37 straight games with a touchdown, an NCAA record.

“Cedric is so tough,” Brown said. “I think he’s the No. 1 reason we ended up in [the Rose Bowl].”

Brown also remembered Benson’s commitment off the field.

“Cedric’s a young guy who would reach out to kids, he would reach out to the elderly,” he said. “He’s a very shy young man, but he would reach out to those who reached out to him.”

Brown added that he would miss Benson being a part of the Longhorn program.

Benson accepted his award donning a new look. The dreadlocks that college football fans associated with Benson were gone.

“Life is changing, that kiddy stage is over,” Benson said of his new do. “I just wanted to feel fresh.”

Despite shaving his locks, Benson saved them in a Ziploc bag to remember his college years.

Speaking about the honor, Benson said it was “really hard to put into words” how he felt about being chosen.

Benson joined former Texas running back Ricky Williams as a recipient of the Doak Walker Award. Williams won back-to-back awards in 1997 and 1998.

Benson is thankful for all that he learned as a Longhorn.

“I knew I could never take a day off,” he said. “Every day, every moment was a new lesson taught. It’s the kind of progression that helped me become the man I am today.”

As for his future in the NFL, Benson said he is looking forward to draft day in April.

“I’m looking forward to that day,” he said. “I won’t have to worry about paying bills.”

The Doak Walker Award recognizes the best running back in NCAA Division I football, while the Legends Award honors a former running back that exhibited talent and class on and off the playing field. The award is named after three-time SMU All-American running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker. Walker died in 1999 after injuries suffered in a ski accident. Walker is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. A selection committee chooses the recipient of the award and the winner is announced in December of each year. The recipient is then acknowledged in an awards ceremony in February. For more information, visit

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