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Brown, Presley, Therriault and Eachus join Payton Award Watch List

By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The early season play of quarterbacks Mike Brown of Liberty, DeAndre Presley of Appalachian State and Casey Therriault of Jackson State, as well as Colgate running back Nate Eachus, has led to their joining the race for the 2010 Walter Payton Award, sponsored by Fathead.com.

A stellar 20-player Watch List will be pared to one winner of the Football Championship Subdivision's top individual honor. The Payton Award is in its 24th season and will be presented at the national awards banquet on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.

Each of the four newcomers to the Watch List is a junior.

Brown, 6 feet, 205 pounds, ranks second in the FCS in total offense (314.6 ypg) through games of Oct. 2. The 2009 Big South Offensive Player of the Year, as a wide receiver and part-time quarterback, he has successfully transitioned into Liberty's starting QB. Brown led the Flames to a win over Ball State of the Football Bowl Subdivision, collecting 363 yards of total offense (276 passing, 87 rushing) in that victory. Overall, he has rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns and completed 100 of 151 attempts for 1,315 yards and 11 TDs against five interceptions.

Presley, 5-11, 170, has helped engineer an electrifying start to second-ranked Appalachian State's season after replacing Armanti Edwards, the first two-time Walter Payton Award winner. Presley began the campaign with a sterling effort in the season-opener, when he rallied App State to a 42-41 win over Chattanooga by throwing for 340 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for two TDs and picking up a fumbled reception and turning it into the 33-yard go-ahead score. Through four games, he has completed 65-of-99 attempts for 896 yards and eight touchdowns without an interception, while rushing for 280 yards and five touchdowns.

Therriault, 6-3, 205, stands tall in the pocket, and it goes beyond his size. He leads the FCS in passing yards (360.5 ypg) and total offense (370.3 ypg) through games of Oct. 2, throwing for 1,442 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Tigers' first four games. He has completed 112-of-186 attempts and thrown for over 300 yards in each game, including 404 against Delta State. A junior college transfer, he was named a team captain despite being new to the campus.

Eachus, 5-10, 216, has rushed for an FCS-leading 160 yards per game through games of Oct. 2. A workhorse, he has rushed for at least 134 yards and carried the ball at least 28 times in all four games. His big start to the 2010 campaign included a dismantling of Georgetown, when he rushed for 214 yards and four touchdowns on 44 carries and had 54 receiving yards. It gave him 13 100-yard rushing days and 33 touchdowns in his last 18 games. Overall, the fast, shifty Eachus has rushed for 640 yards on 137 carries this season.

Joining Brown, Presley, Therriault and Eachus on the Payton Award Watch List are quarterbacks Thomas DeMarco of Old Dominion, Pat Devlin of Delaware, Michael Herrick of Northern Arizona, Cameron Higgins of Weber State, Jeremy Moses of Stephen F. Austin, Scott Riddle of Elon, Steve Valentino of Dayton and Chris Whitney of Villanova; running backs Chris Evans of Samford, Jonathan Grimes of William & Mary, Taiwan Jones of Eastern Washington, Kyle Minett of South Dakota State and Chase Reynolds of Montana; wide receivers Tysson Poots of Southern Utah and Matt Szczur of Villanova; and offensive tackle Ben Ijalana of Villanova.

Other preseason nominees were quarterbacks K.J. Black of Prairie View A&M, Malcolm Long of South Carolina State and Andrew Selle of Montana as well as running back Devon Moore of Appalachian State.

The Payton Award Watch List can undergo a second revision on Oct. 25. Ballots will be sent to a panel of nearly 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season on Nov. 22.

The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan and Eddie Robinson awards which are sponsored by Fathead. The Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year. Those two awards, like the Payton, will be presented at the national awards banquet.

Sacks or scores, contact Craig Haley at
chaley@sportsnetwork.com.


Follow Craig Haley on Twitter and Facebook.

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