WATCH LISTS . . . Stanford senior running back Stepfan Taylor has been included on the Doak Walker Award Preseason Candidate List. The Doak Walker Award is presented annually to the nation's top running back. Stanford's Toby Gerhart captured the honor in 2009. Taylor, from Mansfield, Texas, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons (2010-11), putting him in select company with Darrin Nelson (1977-78) and Gerhart (2008-09) as the only backs in Stanford history to achieve the feat. Other Stanford players named to preseason 'watch' lists include: junior defensive end Ben Gardner, named for the Lombardi Award, which is presented annually to nation's top college lineman or linebacker; Chase Thomas, Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy are up for the Butkus Award, which is presented annually to the top linebacker in college football; Thomas and Skov also have been included on preseason lists for the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards, honoring the nation's top defensive player; and David Yankey was named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, which honors the top interior lineman.
COMING BACK . . . Stanford fans will get another season to watch ace Mark Appel take the hill at Sunken Diamond, as he and the Pittsburgh Pirates were unable to reach an agreement before the signing deadline last Friday. The Pirates chose Appel with the eighth overall selection in the June Major League Baseball First-Year Draft; however, many scouts listed the Stanford starter as the top pitching prospect in the draft. "After much thought, prayer and analysis of both opportunities, I came to the conclusion the best decision is to remain at Stanford continuing my studies, finishing my degree, and doing all I can to assist the Cardinal baseball team in our goal to win a national championship," Appel said in a statement. "I greatly valued the prospect of a professional opportunity and I will pursue a professional baseball career after getting my Stanford degree." Appel, who was recently named the College Baseball Writer's Association National Pitcher of the Year, posted a 10-2 record on the year with a 2.56 earned run average.