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SPORTS BRIEF: Ertz, Taylor named semifinalists for prestigious national awards

Redshirt junior tight end Zach Ertz was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2012 John Mackey Award, given annually to the most outstanding tight end in college football.

Senior running back Stepfan Taylor was named one of eight semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top running back in college football. Following Taylor’s remarkable 40-yard run-and-catch touchdown against Oregon State on Senior Day, head coach David Shaw said, “I can’t say how proud of him I am.” (DAVID BERNAL/isiphotos.com)

Having piled up 47 catches for 641 yards and five touchdowns so far this season, Ertz caught game-winning touchdowns against USC and Oregon State. The redshirt junior was also named John Mackey Tight End of the Week in September for his clutch touchdown reception against the Trojans.

Despite not being on the John Mackey Award preseason watch list, Ertz has gained a considerable amount of national attention and is one of the top tight end prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft should he declare for the draft after this year.

Senior halfback Stepfan Taylor also made the cut as one of eight semifinalists for the 2012 Doak Walker Award, given annually to the most outstanding collegiate running back in the nation.

Taylor is averaging almost 118 yards on the grounds each game and has 11 total touchdowns on the season. En route to a 114-yard rushing performance against the nation’s fifth-best run defense in Oregon State last Saturday, Taylor became the first player in school history to have three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

With at least three games left in the season, Taylor needs 202 more yards to overtake Darrin Nelson as the all-time Stanford rushing leader.

The recipients of the John Mackey Award and the Doak Walker Award will both be announced on Dec. 6.

About George Chen

George Chen is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily who writes football, football and more football. Previously he worked at The Daily as the President and Editor in Chief, Executive Editor, Managing Editor of Sports, the football beat reporter and a sports desk editor. George also co-authored The Daily's recent book documenting the rise of Stanford football, "Rags to Roses." He is a senior from Painted Post, NY majoring in Biology. To contact him, please email at gchen15@stanford.edu.