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Washington State’s Max Borghi named to preseason watch list for nation’s top running back

WSU's Max Borghi runs the ball during a spring practice on Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Washington State’s Max Borghi became the first Cougar to earn preseason recognition Wednesday when the sophomore was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which recognizes the nation’s top running back.

Borghi was one of 72 players named to the preseason list and one of eight in the Pac-12 Conference. WSU didn’t have anyone named to the watch list last season, so Borghi becomes the first Cougar player to be recognized since Jamal Morrow in 2017.

With the departure of James Williams, Borghi is primed to take over as WSU’s primary tailback. Many expect the Arvada, Colorado, native to have a breakout sophomore season.

On Wednesday, Athlon Sports also named Borghi on its list of “Pac-12 Breakout Football Players in 2019.”

In 2018, Borghi matched Deon Burnett’s 20-year-old record for touchdowns by a freshman, scoring eight times on the ground while catching four touchdowns. Borghi finished the year with 740 all-purpose yards, rushing 72 times for 366 yards – 5.1 yards per carry – and catching 53 passes for 374 yards.

The other Pac-12 running backs to earn preseason Doak Walker mention were Arizona’s J.J. Taylor, Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin, Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson, Stanford’s Cameron Scarlett, Oregon’s Troy Dye and CJ Verdell, and UCLA’s Joshua Kelley.

Last season’s Doak Walker Award recipient was Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who led the nation in rushing with 2,194 yards.