The two leading passers and the top-ranked rusher in the FCS were invited on Monday to the announcement of the 2022 Stats Perform Walter Payton Award, which honors the offensive player of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.
The trio of quarterbacks Tim DeMorat of Fordham and Lindsey Scott Jr. of UIW and running back Jaden Shirden of Monmouth were among 30 finalists for the Payton, which is named for legendary running back Walter Payton, who starred at Jackson State as part of his Hall of Fame career.
A 54-member panel voted on the 36th annual award after the regular season. The announcement of the recipient will be made at the FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.
DeMorat, a fifth-year senior from Merritt Island, Florida, led Fordham to its first playoff bid since 2015 and a 9-3 record. While the 6-foot-4, 220-yard DeMorat earned his third straight Patriot League offensive player of the year award, he completed 301 of 458 passes (65.7 percent) for 4,561 yards and 53 touchdowns against eight interceptions in the regular season. He added 330 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs, bringing his season totals to FCS season highs of 4,891 yards and 56 TDs, with another five touchdown runs.
Scott, from Zachary, Louisiana, and a graduate transfer from Nicholls, was the Southland Conference player of the year, helping his 11-1 team to a national quarterfinal this week. He became the third player in FCS history to pass for seven touchdowns in one half of a game, then did it a second time. Through 12 games, the 5-11, 212-pounder is 273 of 377 (72.4 percent) for 4,185 yards and 55 touchdowns with six interceptions, adding 466 rushing yards and seven TD runs. His 210.6 pass efficiency is above the FCS single-season record.
Shirden, a sophomore from West Haven, Connecticut, leads the FCS in rushing yards (1,722) and rushing yards per game (156.5). He averaged 8.4 yards on 206 carries, and had four games over 200 yards and another two over 150 yards. The 5-9, 185-pound breakaway runner averaged 52.8 yards on his 13 touchdown runs, with eight over 50 yards and his two longest against Fordham (95 and 80 yards). He was named the CAA’s offensive player of the year as Monmouth finished 5-6 in its first season as a member of the largest FCS conference.
The Walter Payton Award, first presented in 1987, has a distinguished history of recipients, including Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and Trey Lance.
Also at the national banquet, Stats Perform will present the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year), and FedEx Ground will present the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
2022 Walter Payton Award Voting Results
Following is a breakdown of the voting results. 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. The final number is the combined point total.
1. TBA, Jan. 7
2. TBA, Jan. 7
3. TBA, Jan. 7
4. Michael Hiers, QB, Samford: 3-3-7-8-5-69
5. Geno Hess, RB, Southeast Missouri: 0-3-8-9-7-61
6. Shedeur Sanders, QB, Jackson State: 1-2-8-3-2-45
7. Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Youngstown State: 3-1-2-2-1-30
8. Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State: 0-1-5-2-4-27
9. Joey Hobert, WR, Utah Tech: 0-1-2-1-5-17
10.(tie) Cameron Skattebo, RB, Sacramento State: 0-2-1-2-1-16
10.(tie) Matthew Sluka, QB, Holy Cross: 0-2-1-1-3-16
12.(tie) Hunter Luepke, FB, North Dakota State: 0-0-1-3-2-11
12.(tie) Parker McKinney, QB, Eastern Kentucky: 0-0-2-2-1-11
14.(tie) Devron Harper, WR, Mercer: 0-2-0-1-0-10
14.(tie) Fotis Kokosioulis, WR, Fordham: 1-0-0-2-1-10
14.(tie) Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., RB, UC Davis: 1-0-0-1-3-10
17. ShunDerrick Powell, RB, North Alabama: 0-0-1-1-1-6
18.(tie) Tommy Mellot, QB, Montana State: 0-1-0-0-1-5
18.(tie) Xavier Gipson, WR, Stephen F. Austin: 0-0-0-2-1-5
20.(tie) Bhayshul Tuten, RB, North Carolina A&T: 0-0-0-2-0-4
20.(tie) Xavier Smith, WR, Florida A&M: 0-0-1-0-1-4
22. Reece Udinski, QB, Richmond: 0-0-0-0-3-3
23.(tie) Bailey Fisher, QB, Gardner-Webb: 0-0-0-1-0-2
23.(tie) Davius Richard, QB, North Carolina Central: 0-0-0-0-2-2
25.(tie) Cole Doyle, QB, Saint Francis: 0-0-0-0-1-1
25.(tie) Deonta McMahon, RB, McNeese: 0-0-0-0-1-1
27.(tie) Aidan Borguet, RB, Harvard: 0-0-0-0-0-0
27.(tie) Jake Chisholm, RB, Dayton: 0-0-0-0-0-0
27.(tie) Ailym Ford, RB, Chattanooga: 0-0-0-0-0-0
27.(tie) Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton: 0-0-0-0-0-0