It’s not everyday that a team features two Doak Walker Award candidates on its roster. That’s the position Western Michigan finds itself in, as they have both Jamauri Bogan and Jarvion Franklin. The pair combine to make one of the most deadly backfield duos in the MAC Conference.
Franklin was considered one of the best freshman talents at the conclusion of his first year at Western Michigan. Named to just about every award one could receive for a small school standout, he was the top of his class. His gaudy 1,551 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns solidified his place among the countries best.
Had it not been for Bogan, we might have had seen another prime year for Jarvion Franklin. During the 2015 season, the two-headed monster of Bogan and Franklin started to appear.
During his 2015 redshirt freshman season, Bogan set the Western Michigan campus on fire. Named the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl offensive MVP, he cruised to a 1,051 yard, 16 touchdown year. It was needed given the second year struggles of Franklin.
Who knows if the presence of Bogan halted any confidence Franklin might have maintained from the previous year, but the two really never co-existed in the backfield. That all changed in 2016, as they become a much more cohesive unit on the field.
As Western Michigan was having its most prolific season in team history, Bogan and Franklin combined for 2, 276 yards and 20 touchdowns in the running game. Bogan ran for 100 yards in each of the team’s first four games to start the 2016 season. Not to be outdone, Franklin rushed for 281 yards during a mid-season matchup with Akron.
As the new season approaches, Western Michigan finds itself without coach P.J. Fleck. It’s totally unclear what new coach, Tim Lester, has in store for the teams running attack, but, if both Bogan and Franklin can play the 1A and 1B running back roles throughout the 2017 season, it should make Lester’s job a lot easier.
The two are well deserving of a bid to receive a Doak Walker Award at season’s end. Of course, as they play together it’s less and less likely one will win the award sharing the backfield. However, a balanced attack of the two does spell trouble for the rest of the MAC Conference.