FCS National Awards: A List of the All-Time Recipients | The Analyst
FCS National Awards: A List of the All-Time Recipients

FCS National Awards: A List of the All-Time Recipients

The FCS National Awards honor the best of the best in the NCAA Division I subdivision of college football.

The namesakes of the national awards are legendary. Starting with the Walter Payton and the Eddie Robinson in 1987, the awards have grown to include the Buck Buchanan and Jerry Rice awards and the FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

Recipients have included greats of the game such as Steve McNair, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Dexter Coakley, Jared Allen, Cooper Kupp, Jim Tressel, Andy Talley, Sean McDonnell, K.C. Keeler and Deion Sanders.

All five awards are presented at the Stats Perform FCS National Awards Banquet, held annually in early January prior to the FCS championship game in Frisco, Texas.

(Watch the recent FCS National Awards broadcasts: 2020 season played in spring 2021 and the 2021 season)

Walter Payton Award (FCS Offensive Player of the Year)

Before moving on to the NFL, Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo received the 2013 Walter Payton Award. (AP Photo)

Walter Payton set NCAA records at Jackson State before going on to set the NFL career rushing record with 16,726 yards (later bested by Emmitt Smith) and score 750 points in his career. Payton was a two-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl XX champion and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection with the Chicago Bears. The NFL’s Man of the Year is named after him.

“When you look at my dad’s career from high school to college and what he had to do to be able to get to the NFL, and to see these young guys coming up now as finalists for this award is pretty special,” said Jarrett Payton, a long-time presenter of the Walter Payton Award.

All-Time Recipients

1987 – Kenny Gamble, Colgate, Running Back
1988 – Dave Meggett, Towson State, Running Back
1989 – John Friesz, Idaho, Quarterback
1990 – Walter Dean, Grambling State, Running Back
1991 – Jamie Martin, Weber State, Quarterback
1992 – Michael Payton, Marshall, Quarterback
1993 – Doug Nussmeier, Idaho, Quarterback
1994 – Steve McNair, Alcorn State, Quarterback
1995 – Dave Dickenson, Montana, Quarterback
1996 – Archie Amerson, Northern Arizona, Running Back
1997 – Brian Finneran, Villanova, Wide Receiver
1998 – Jerry Azumah, New Hampshire, Running Back
1999 – Adrian Peterson, Georgia Southern, Running Back
2000 – Louis Ivory, Furman, Running Back
2001 – Brian Westbrook, Villanova, Running Back
2002 – Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois, Quarterback
2003 – Jamaal Branch, Colgate, Running Back
2004 – Lang Campbell, William & Mary, Quarterback
2005 – Erik Meyer, Eastern Washington, Quarterback
2006 – Ricky Santos, New Hampshire, Quarterback
2007 – Jayson Foster, Georgia Southern, Quarterback
2008 – Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State, Quarterback
2009 – Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State, Quarterback
2010 – Jeremy Moses, Stephen F. Austin, Quarterback
2011 – Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Quarterback
2012 – Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, Quarterback
2013 – Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, Quarterback
2014 – John Robertson, Villanova, Quarterback
2015 – Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, Wide Receiver
2016 – Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State, Quarterback
2017 – Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State, Quarterback
2018 – Devlin Hodges, Samford, Quarterback
2019 – Trey Lance, North Dakota State, Quarterback
2020 – Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana, Quarterback
2021 – Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington, Quarterback
2022 – Lindsey Scott Jr., UIW, Quarterback

Buck Buchanan Award (FCS Defensive Player of the Year)

Awaiting the announcement of the Buck Buchanan Award at the 2022 season banquet are, from left, John Pius of William & Mary, recipient Zeke Vandenburgh of Illinois State and David Walker of Central Arkansas. (AP Photo)

Junious “Buck” Buchanan, who starred at Grambling State and then with the Kansas City Chiefs, was the prototype for future defensive linemen, combining size, speed and outstanding strength, along with an intense work ethic. His teams won two AFL championships and Super Bowl IV. Buchanan had a streak of eight straight selections to either the AFL All-Star Team or the NFL Pro Bowl, and missed only one game due to injury in his 13-year career. 

“You’re getting recognized for the work that you put out there on the field. Just to be able to be a representative of the award, to have my name entrenched and always associated with the Buck Buchanan Award, it’s amazing,” said Dexter Coakley, the only two-time recipient (1995 and ’96) and a frequent presenter.

All-Time Recipients

1995 – Dexter Coakley, Appalachian State, Linebacker
1996 – Dexter Coakley, Appalachian State, Linebacker
1997 – Chris McNeil, North Carolina A&T, Defensive End
1998 – James Milton, Western Illinois, Linebacker
1999 – Al Lucas, Troy State, Defensive Tackle
2000 – Edgerton Hartwell, Western Illinois, Linebacker
2001 – Derrick Lloyd, James Madison, Linebacker
2002 – Rashean Mathis, Bethune-Cookman, Cornerback
2003 – Jared Allen, Idaho State, Defensive End
2004 – Jordan Beck, Cal Poly, Linebacker
2005 – Chris Gocong, Cal Poly, Defensive End
2006 – Kyle Shotwell, Cal Poly, Linebacker
2007 – Kroy Biermann, Montana, Defensive End
2008 – Greg Peach, Eastern Washington, Defensive End
2009 – Arthur Moats, James Madison, Defensive End
2010 – J.C. Sherritt, Eastern Washington, Linebacker
2011 – Matt Evans, New Hampshire, Linebacker
2012 – Caleb Schreibeis, Montana State, Defensive End
2013 – Brad Daly, Montana State, Defensive End
2014 – Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State, Defensive End
2015 – Deon King, Norfolk State, Linebacker
*2015 – Tyrone Holmes, Montana, Defensive End
2016 – Karter Schult, Northern Iowa, Defensive End
2017 – Darius Jackson, Jacksonville State, Defensive End
2018 – Zach Hall, Southeast Missouri State, Linebacker
2019 – Dante Olson, Montana, Linebacker
2020 – Jordan Lewis, Southern, Defensive End
2021 – Isaiah Land, Florida A&M, Defensive End/Linebacker
2022 – Zeke Vandenburgh, Illinois State, Linebacker
*- Stats Perform FCS Defensive Player of the Year

Jerry Rice Award (FCS Freshman Player of the Year)

Football legend Jerry Rice, left, presents the FCS freshman player of the year award to 2022 recipient Gevani McCoy of Idaho. (Joyce Bishop Photography)

Jerry Rice went from being one of the all-time greatest wide receivers in FCS history at Mississippi Valley State to the unquestioned best in NFL history. In a career spent mostly with the San Francisco 49ers, he won three Super Bowls and was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection. His many records include NFL career marks for receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), touchdown receptions (197) and touchdowns scored (208). 

“I am truly honored to be a part of the FCS Awards and to be in the company of Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan and Eddie Robinson. It truly means the world to me and it’s unbelievable to be able to have my legacy live on forever,” Rice said.

All-Time Recipients

2011 – Terrance West, Towson Running Back
2012 – John Robertson, Villanova, Quarterback
2013 – Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, Wide Receiver
2014 – Chase Edmonds, Fordham, Running Back
2015 – Case Cookus, Northern Arizona, Quarterback
2016 – A.J. Hines, Duquesne, Running Back
2017 – Bryson Armstrong, Kennesaw State, Linebacker
2018 – Josh Davis, Weber State, Running Back
2019 – Trey Lance, North Dakota State, Quarterback
2020 – Cameron Ward, UIW, Quarterback
2021 – Shedeur Sanders, Jackson State, Quarterback
2022 – Gevani McCoy, Idaho, Quarterback

Eddie Robinson Award (FCS Coach of the Year)

2021 Eddie Robinson Award recipient Deion Sanders of Jackson State University. (AP Photo)

The late Eddie Robinson’s 408 career victories at Grambling State are the most among FCS schools and only one less than Joe Paterno’s Division I-record total at Penn State. Coach Rob’s teams won nine black college football national championships, and more than 200 of his players went on to NFL careers.

“When the names Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson are attached to top awards, the message is clear to all involved: ‘You can be anything you dream of as a product of FCS football,’ ” said Jim Tressel, the 1994 Eddie Robinson Award recipient and a four-time FCS national championship-winning coach.

All-Time Recipients

1987 – Mark Duffner, Holy Cross
1988 – Bill Russo, Lafayette
1989 – Erk Russell, Georgia Southern
1990 – Gene McDowell, Central Florida
1991 – Chris Ault, Nevada
1992 – Charlie Taaffe, The Citadel
1993 – Dan Allen, Boston University
1994 – Jim Tressel, Youngstown State
1995 – Houston Nutt, Murray State
1996 – Darren Barbier, Nicholls State
1997 – Andy Talley, Villanova
1998 – Paul Johnson, Georgia Southern
1999 – Mickey Matthews, James Madison
2000 – Joe Glenn, Montana
2001 – Pete Lembo, Lehigh
2002 – Tommy Tate, McNeese State
2003 – Mike Ayers, Wofford
2004 – Jerry Kill, Southern Illinois
2005 – Sean McDonnell, New Hampshire
2006 – Jerry Moore, Appalachian State
2007 – Mark Farley, Northern Iowa
2008 – Mickey Matthews, James Madison
2009 – Henry Frazier III, Prairie View A&M
2010 – Tony Samuel, Southeast Missouri State
2011 – Rob Ambrose, Towson
2012 – Craig Bohl, North Dakota State
2013 – Craig Bohl, North Dakota State
2014 – Sean McDonnell, New Hampshire
2015 – Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina
*2015 – Bruce Barnum, Portland State
2016 – K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston State
2017 – Will Healy, Austin Peay
2018 – Dan Hawkins, UC Davis
2019 – Troy Taylor, Sacramento State
2020 – Scott Wachenheim, VMI
2021 – Deion Sanders, Jackson State
2022 – John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State
*- Stats Perform FCS Coach of the Year

FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award

FedEx Ground presented the 2022 Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award to Dayton running back Jake Chrisholm. (Joyce Bishop Photography)

Doris Robinson, the late wife of legendary Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson, was a school teacher who spent her life dedicated to educating young people. Her award honors an FCS student-athlete who excels not only in the classroom, but in the community and beyond.

“My grandmother, Doris Robinson, embodied the essence of laboring in love for all humanitarian endeavors that strengthens the wisdom of communities when they are tasked with molding our future through our young people. This award is a perfect parallel to her lifelong commitment to our well-rounded leaders who recognize and strive for distinction through sports, education and the growth of community pursuits that uplift each one of us as citizens of the world,” said Eddie Robinson III, grandson of Eddie and Doris Robinson.

All-Time Recipients

2015 – Dalton Screws, Jacksonville State, Wide Receiver
2016 – Tyler Swafford, Eastern Kentucky, Quarterback
2017 – Jake Wieneke, South Dakota State, Wide Receiver
2018 – Christopher Infantino, Stony Brook, Offensive Lineman
2019 – Alex Pechin, Bucknell, Punter
2020 – Jessie Malit, North Carolina Central, Defensive End
2021 – ZeVeyon Furcron, Southern Illinois, Offensive Lineman
2022 – Jake Chisholm, Dayton, Running Back

(Another Look: Here’s the Full List of FCS National Awards Winners by School)

The 2022 FCS National Awards recipients, from left, South Dakota State’s John Stiegelmeier (Eddie Robinson), Dayton’s Jake Chisholm (Doris Robinson), Illinois State’s Zeke Vandenburgh (Buck Buchanan), UIW’s Lindsey Scott Jr. (Walter Payton) and Idaho’s Gevani McCoy (Jerry Rice). (Joyce Bishop Photography)