STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List

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Was selected as the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner. Seeking to become the second two-time winner after former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards (2008 and '09). ... Set the FCS single-season record with 57 touchdown passes as a junior, throwing for at least three in 12 of his 13 games. The first-team All-American ranked second nationally with 4,602 passing yards and led Sam Houston State to the Southland Conference title. ... Played as a high school senior under Eliot Allen, who coached Andrew Luck. Briscoe transferred to Sam Houston from UAB after the Blazers' program folded following the 2014 season.
A background in basketball pays off as Butler has a physical style with good size and hands, and even better leaping ability to snatch receptions over defensive players. ... The only player in Northern Arizona history with multiple seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. As a sophomore in 2015, he had a breakout season with 64 receptions for a school single-season record 1,208 yards (18.9 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns, which tied a school single-season mark. … Has twice earned All-Big Sky first-team honors and was a 2015 STATS FCS All-America second-team selection. ... Nominated to the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference's 2016 offensive player of the year set or tied 11 South Dakota State records in an outstanding sophomore campaign. Included was a school single season-record 3,714 passing yards and 4,049 yards of total offense. ... The third-team STATS FCS All-American is mobile and extremely efficient. ... Was named the national offensive player of the week after leading the Jackrabbits to a win at North Dakota State on Oct. 15, 2016. He accounted for 444 total yards and threw a last-second, game-winning touchdown pass. ... Finished seventh in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Northern Arizona
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 200
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Junior-Soph
The 2015 STATS FCS Freshman of the Year and Jerry Rice Award winner hopes to rebound from an injury-shortened 2016 season. Before being sidelined after four games with a separated shoulder, he was among the national leaders with 1,173 passing yards and 13 touchdowns with only one interception and a 184.4 passing efficiency rating. He's expected to gain a medical redshirt. ... As a freshman in 2015, Cookus set an FCS rookie record with 37 touchdown passes. He threw for seven TDs against Northern Colorado and six against Sacramento State. ... Stands tall in the pocket and has excellent mechanics and downfield ability. ... Spent time at Ventura Junior College but didn't play because of injury and then enrolled at NAU in 2015.
  • Team: Fordham
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 205
  • Position: RB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
The fourth-place finisher for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award seeks an epic finish to an already banner career. Through his junior season, Edmonds' 5,285 career rushing yards put him on pace to surpass former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson's FCS all-time rushing record of 6,559 yards. ... Also enters his senior season with 6,645 all-purpose yards and 69 touchdowns in 37 career games. ... Uses a fast and deceptively punishing style to get past defenders. ... Led the FCS in rushing yards per game (163.5) as a junior while earning first-team STATS FCS All-America honors for the second consecutive season. ... Won the 2014 Jerry Rice Award as the FCS freshman of the year.
Goedert was an unstoppable force in 2016, setting South Dakota State's single-season record with 92 receptions while totaling 1,293 yards and 11 touchdown catches. ... Included was an eight-catch, 204-yard, four-touchdown performance against Western Illinois. … Considered one of the better 2018 NFL prospects from the FCS, Goedert has wide receiver skills in a tight end's body: quick for his size, but strong enough to carry multiple tacklers for extra yards. ... Was named to the STATS FCS All-America first team as a junior and finished 14th in voting for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
Gubrud announced his arrival on Sept. 3, 2016, by racking up an Eastern Washington-record 551 total yards with six total touchdowns in his first career start - a 45-42 win over Washington State. ... The dual threat (he led the team in rushing) went on to set the FCS single-season record with 5,160 passing yards. He was first in the nation in total offensive yards per game (411.9) and second in touchdown passes (48). ... Co-winner of the 2016 Big Sky offensive player of the year award with former EWU wide receiver Cooper Kupp. ... Was selected as the second-team All-America quarterback and finished third in voting for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Samford
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 205
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Junior
Hodges posted a record-shattering season as a sophomore, setting school marks for passing yards (4,088), completions (375), attempts (530) and touchdown passes (36). He was rewarded with the Southern Conference offensive player of the year award. ... A dual threat with a quick release and efficient style, he has to overcome the loss of two of his three favorite wide receivers as a junior. ... In his first collegiate start against Western Carolina in 2015, Hodges was 42 of 61 for 399 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and a score. ... Was named to the 2016 STATS FCS All-America third team and finished ninth in voting for the Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Albany
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 199
  • Position: RB
  • Class-Elig.: Junior-Junior
Led Albany with 609 rushing yards as a freshman in 2015, but more than doubled that total in his sophomore season, racking up a CAA Football-high 1,388 yards as well as 16 touchdowns. Ranked fourth in the FCS in rushing yards per game (126.2). ... Ibitokun-Hanks suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus in the season's final game and will have to overcome the injuries in 2017. ... Was named to the STATS FCS All-America third team as a sophomore. ... Lauded for his vision and instincts, Ibitokun-Hanks is a fast, hard-charging running back who's been a workhorse. The Great Danes plan to decrease his carries in 2017 following the knee injuries.
  • Team: Grambling State
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 190
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
In his first season at Grambling State after transferring from Ole Miss, Kincade matched 2015 SWAC offensive player of the year Jonathan Williams by winning the 2016 award. He helped lead the G-Men to their first conference title since 2011 and then to a win over North Carolina Central in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. ... Kincade passed for 2,999 yards and, more impressively, 31 touchdowns against only four interceptions. ... A gritty leader, he stays in the pocket to find his receivers, but will use his legs to gain yards. … Was a member of Ole Miss' 2015 Sugar Bowl-winning squad.
  • Team: Richmond
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 215
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: GS-Senior
Lauletta has thrown for more than 3,000 passing yards in each of the last two seasons, However, as a senior, he is trying to overcome an ACL injury suffered in Richmond's final regular-season game in 2016. ... Lauletta can make every throw on the field. As a sophomore, he led the Spiders to a share of the CAA Football title and to their first semifinal appearance since the 2008 squad won the FCS title. ... He upped his touchdown passes from 19 as a sophomore to 24 as a junior while lowering his interceptions from 15 to eight. … Co-founded the "Pass It On" program, which donated new and gently used sports equipment to the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia.
  • Team: San Diego
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 195
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Junior
Born in San Diego, the Pioneer Football League's 2015 offensive freshman of the year became its first-team all-league quarterback in 2016. As a sophomore, he helped the Toreros to an undefeated league record and then an FCS playoff win over Cal Poly that was the first in PFL history. … Ranked fourth in the FCS in completion percentage (67.6) and eighth in passing efficiency rating (155.0) while throwing for 2,998 yards and 25 touchdowns against eight interceptions. … An accurate passer with great poise and command of the offense. … He threw for 9,079 yards and 96 touchdowns in high school. … Nominee to the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List.
  • Team: Saint Francis U
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 195
  • Position: WR
  • Class-Elig.: Junior-Junior
Lewis posted a breakout season as a sophomore and it coincided with Saint Francis claiming the Northeast Conference title and an FCS playoff bid - both firsts in program history. … Named the 2016 NEC's offensive player of the year, the wiry wideout caught 75 passes for 1,478 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 123.2 receiving yards per game ranked third in the FCS. … The big-play receiver has excellent hands and is adept at breaking the first tackle and picking up extra yards. He scored the final three touchdowns of a 38-17 win over Sacred Heart on Oct. 29, 2016, which gave the Red Flash control of the NEC title race. … Finished 24th in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Princeton
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 220
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
One of the best all-around offensive threats in the FCS, Lovett will line up as either a running back, quarterback or wide receiver. He set a Princeton single-season record with 20 rushing touchdowns in 2016, while passing for 10 more and catching one. … Captured the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League's offensive player of the year, helping the Tigers claim a share of the league title with Penn. … Was named the first-team all-purpose selection on the STATS FCS All-America Team. … The two-time first-team All-Ivy Leaguer mixes power, speed and athleticism into his versatile style.
  • Team: Gardner-Webb
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 230
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
Maxwell, the 2016 Big South offensive player of the year, enters his senior season as the conference's all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,014. … Also an improved passer, he led the Big South in total offensive yards (2,622) and total offense per game (238.4) in 2016. His big season helped Gardner-Webb to its first winning conference record since 2003. … Led an upset of No. 8 Charleston Southern on Nov. 5, 2016 with 360 yards of total offense and two total touchdowns, including the game-winning pass with 27 seconds remaining. … Finished 24th in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Western Carolina
  • Height: 5-10
  • Weight: 210
  • Position: RB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
Newsome led all FCS players with an average of 213 all-purpose yards per game in 2016. He went over 1,000 rushing yards (1,031) for the second consecutive season, nearly reached the century mark (970) on kickoff returns and had 342 receiving yards. … Named to the STATS FCS All-America second team as an all-purpose player. … Against South Carolina, he amassed a school-record 365 all-purpose yards, including 240 kickoff return yards that set a Southern Conference standard. As a result, he was named the national special teams player of the week. … Had a 402-yard rushing performance to begin his senior season in high school.
Was the only non-senior among offensive linemen selected to the STATS FCS All-America first team in 2016. He also was named the offensive lineman of the year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for the second time. … Late-round NFL prospect for 2018 had 48 pancake/knockdown blocks, did not allow a sack and committed only two penalties as a junior. … Has displayed excellent durability at North Carolina A&T, mixing good speed and length with a tireless motor. … Parker's consistent play helped the Aggies to at least nine wins in each of his first three seasons.
  • Team: Lehigh
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 210
  • Position: WR
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
Pelletier's college career has been marked by consistent productivity, but his pass catching reached an elite level in 2016. He caught 96 passes (the third-most in the FCS) for 1,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. … A two-time All-Patriot League first-team selection, he was named to the STATS FCS All-America third team as a junior. … Known for his excellent hands and ability to gain yards after the catch. … Finished 21st in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award. Also was a finalist for the 2014 Jerry Rice Award, which honors the FCS freshman of the year.
  • Team: Cal Poly
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 230
  • Position: FB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
Don't be fooled by the position - fullback. In Cal Poly's triple-option offense, the athletic, powerful Protheroe eats up yardage as well as any running back in the FCS. … He racked up 1,334 yards (the ninth-most in the FCS) and 13 touchdowns on the ground while earning STATS FCS All-America first-team honors as a junior. He was named to the third team as a sophomore. … Helped Cal Poly to the 2016 FCS playoffs - the Cowboys' first appearance in four years. … Protheroe and his wife Ashley are the parents of two young daughters.
  • Team: James Madison
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 213
  • Position: QB
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
It wasn't certain in the offseason prior to the 2016 season that Schor would be James Madison's starting quarterback, but he wound up leading the Dukes to their second FCS national title. Along the way, he was named the CAA Football offensive player of the year. … Led the nation in completion percentage (73.1) and passing efficiency (186.2) while throwing for 3,002 yards and 29 touchdowns with only six interceptions. The dual-threat added 569 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. … Plays with composure and an intelligent style. … During a six-week span of his junior season, Schor was named the CAA Football offensive player of the week four times. … Finished 12th in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
  • Team: Penn
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 210
  • Position: WR
  • Class-Elig.: Senior-Senior
Twice the runner-up for the Ivy League's offensive player of the year award, Watson will challenge to claim the honor as a senior. He's led the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches in two straight seasons. … As a junior, Watson ranked third in the FCS in receptions per game (8.9) and fourth in receiving yards per game (111.5). … Named to the STATS FCS All-America third team in 2015 and second team in 2016. ... His signature performance came against Harvard in 2015 when Penn stopped the Crimson's 22-game winning streak. He rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown to go with seven receptions for 149 yards and another score. … Finished 23rd in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award.
A 2018 NFL Draft prospect, Wieneke enters his final season ranked No. 1 among active FCS players in career receptions (223), receiving yards (4,192) and touchdown receptions (43). … He's been both great and consistent over his first three seasons at South Dakota State. Physically gifted at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Wieneke uses his body to overwhelm defenders. He has big hands and a crafty ball-catching technique. ... A three-time FCS All-American, including on the first team in 2015. … Finished 10th in voting for the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award. ... Younger brother Clark also plays for the Jackrabbits as a running back.
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