Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – The gaudy statistics of a Walter Payton
Award candidate always jump right out at admirers, but the number that is most
important on campus is the victory total.
So what the teams of Idaho State quarterback Justin Arias and running backs
Chase Edmonds of Fordham, Connor Kacsor of Dayton and Dy’Shawn Mobley of
Eastern Kentucky have accomplished this season plays right into the four
players being named to the 2014 Payton Award Watch List on Tuesday.
The 28th annual Payton Award, presented by The Sports Network, will be bestowed
on the outstanding player in the FCS on Dec. 15 at the national awards banquet.
The four new additions:
Justin Arias, QB, Idaho State, Sr., 6-0, 213, Agoura Hills, California
Behind Arias’ spectacular play, Idaho State has won four straight games to
improve to 6-3 and guarantee itself at least a .500 season for the first time
since 2003. He ranks No. 1 in the FCS in passing yards (3,092), passing yards
per game (343.6) and touchdown passes (29), No. 2 in points responsible for
(180) and No. 3 in total offensive yards per game (345.8). He’s a natural
leader who plays on an even keel, which has boosted his Big Sky squad to No. 2
in the nation in offensive yards per game (563.2)
Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham, Fr., 5-9, 185, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
One of the few questions surrounding Fordham before the season was could it
replace last year’s Payton Award nominee, Carlton Koonce, at running back? The
freshman Edmonds provided the answer in the first game when he rushed for 181
yards and two touchdowns and totaled 300 all-purpose yards. He has remained at
a high level, rushing for at least 100 yards in each Rams’ win while the
Patriot League squad has gone 8-1 and risen to a No. 9 national ranking. He
ranks No. 2 in the FCS in rushing yards (1,322), rushing yards per game
(146.9), all-purpose yards per game (193) and points per game (12.7). He’s also
nominated for the Jerry Rice Award, which honors the FCS freshman of the year.
Connor Kacsor, RB, Dayton, Sr., 6-0, 200, Leo, Indiana
With a 6-2 record, Dayton is on pace for its best season since winning a share
of the 2010 Pioneer Football League title. Despite the Flyers’ nickname, they
have preferred to keep the ball on the ground with their speedy tailback.
Kacsor rushed for 301 yards against Georgetown in their season opener and has
gone over 200 yards in two other victories. Overall, Kacsor ranks No. 3 in the
FCS with 145.6 rushing yards per game, gaining 1,165 yards and 14 touchdowns in
the eight games.
Dy’Shawn Mobley, RB, Eastern Kentucky, Jr., 5-11, 215, Powell, Tennessee
Mobley transferred in from the University of Kentucky earlier this year and has
lifted the Colonels from a .500 season in 2013 to Ohio Valley Conference title
contention this season. They are ranked No. 16 nationally with an 8-1 record. A
big power back, Mobley has seven 100-yard games to lead the OVC in rushing
yards (1,061), rushing yards per game (117.9) and touchdowns (14). He ranks
ninth in the FCS in rushing yards.
Other players on the Walter Payton Award Watch List are quarterbacks Vernon
Adams Jr. of Eastern Washington, Bryan Bennett of Southeastern Louisiana, Jacob
Huesman of Chattanooga, Michael Nebrich of Fordham, Dakota Prukop of Montana
State, John Robertson of Villanova and Alex Ross of Coastal Carolina; running
backs Marshaun Coprich of Illinois State, Malcolm Cyrus of Alabama State,
Khairi Dickson of Saint Francis (Pa.), Rob Hollomon of Central Connecticut
State, DaMarcus James of Jacksonville State, David Johnson of Northern Iowa,
Gus Johnson of Stephen F. Austin, Tyler Varga of Yale, Herb Walker Jr. of
Morgan State and Zach Zenner of South Dakota State; wide receivers Kenny Cook
of Gardner-Webb, R.J. Harris of New Hampshire and Cooper Kupp of Eastern
Washington; and tight end MyCole Pruitt of Southern Illinois.
Ballots for the Walter Payton Award Watch List will be sent to a national panel
of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters,
writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top three vote-
getters will be invited to the national awards banquet.
The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie
Robinson awards. The Buchanan Award honors the outstanding defensive player in
the FCS, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson
Award is bestowed upon the FCS coach of the year.
The 2014 FCS Awards package can be found at http://tinyurl.com/n5ysh8x.