Samford's Hodges wins 2018 Walter Payton Award


STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - That Samford senior quarterback Devlin Hodges was in rarefied air this season has taken on new meaning.

In his final game, Hodges surpassed legendary quarterback Steve "Air" McNair for the most passing yards in FCS history. Friday night, Hodges joined him in the elite club of STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winners.

The national offensive player of the year award, in its 32nd season and named after the legendary College and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, honors the best of the best in the Division I subdivision. Hodges emerged from a group of 25 finalists, including runner-up Chandler Burks of Kennesaw State and third-place finisher Easton Stick of North Dakota State, two other senior quarterbacks, who, like Hodges, were honored at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet in Frisco, Texas.

Hodges, from Kimberly, Alabama, leads the FCS in completions (388), attempts (550) and passing yards (4,283) while accounting for 40 touchdowns (32 passing, eight rushing) in 11 games. The three-time Southern Conference offensive player of the year moved past McNair, the 1994 Payton Award winner, with 14,584 career passing yards. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder also surpassed two-time Payton winner Armanti Edwards as the SoCon's all-time leader for total offensive yards (15,601).

"I'm pumped about breaking the all-time passing yards record as well as the other records," said Hodges, who owns 34 of them. "I never dreamed of it to be honest until this past season. I just wanted to go out and play football and I've done that every game. I have always known that to win football games I would have to throw the ball and have a lot of yards.

"I also think it speaks highly of my teammates who have helped me accomplish these records."

Burks and Stick also were named the offensive players of the year in their respective conferences.

Burks helped Kennesaw State to the Big South title and the national quarterfinals, setting the FCS single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (29). Stick, the FCS leader in passing efficiency, has helped Missouri Valley Football Conference champ North Dakota State to a 14-0 record and into Saturday's national championship game. He has a 48-3 career record, tying for the all-time wins mark by an FCS quarterback.

A national panel of 153 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Walter Payton Award following the regular season. Past recipients include McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, John Friesz, Dave Dickenson, Brian Finneran, Jimmy Garoppolo and Cooper Kupp.



FCS Offensive Player of the Year

1. Devlin Hodges, QB, Samford: 51-18-19-12-7-415

2. Chandler Burks, QB, Kennesaw State: 24-28-23-12-17-342

3. Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State: 29-16-20-17-12-315

4. Joe Protheroe, FB, Cal Poly: 6-24-7-20-12-199

5. Tom Flacco, QB, Towson: 7-10-13-12-11-149

6. Jake Maier, QB, UC Davis: 7-13-12-4-5-136

7. Taryn Christion, QB, South Dakota State: 6-10-9-9-7-122

8. John Lovett, QB, Princeton: 6-5-6-11-3-93

9. Michael Bandy, WR, San Diego: 2-7-5-8-14-83

10. (Tie) Ryan Fulse, RB, Wagner: 2-1-8-6-11-61

10. (Tie) Josh Pearson, WR, Jacksonville State: 2-2-4-13-5-61

12. Anthony Lawrence, QB, San Diego: 2-3-5-4-6-51

13. Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis: 3-2-4-3-5-46

14. Donald Parham, TE, Stetson: 0-2-5-6-10-45

15. James Holland Jr., RB, Colgate: 1-3-4-3-2-37

16. (Tie) Ra'Quanne Dickens, RB, Incarnate Word: 1-1-2-2-3-22

16. (Tie) A.J. Hines, RB, Duquesne: 1-1-2-0-7-22

18. Marquis Terry, RB, Southeast Missouri: 1-0-2-1-5-18

19. (Tie) Tyrie Adams, QB, Western Carolina: 1-1-1-1-0-14

19. (Tie) Caylin Newton, QB, Howard: 0-3-0-1-0-14

21. Alexander Hollins, WR, Eastern Illinois: 0-1-1-1-4-13

22. (Tie) James Robinson, RB, Illinois State: 0-1-0-2-2-10

22. (Tie) Reggie White Jr., WR, Monmouth: 0-1-0-1-4-10

24. Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford: 0-0-1-3-0-9

25. Noah Johnson, QB, Alcorn State: 1-0-0-1-1-8

A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote four points, a third-place vote three points, a fourth-place vote two points and a fifth-place vote one point.

Updated January 4, 2019

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