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San Diego's Anthony Lawrence named to preseason Payton Award Watch List

Sunday, August 6, 2017

San Diego junior quarterback Anthony Lawrence, a nominee for the 2016 Walter Payton Award Watch List a year ago, is one of 22 players on the 2017 preseason watch list for the 2017 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award that was announced today.

Lawrence, 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.  USD finished 10-2 overall and with a program-best final national ranking of 19th in the final STATS FCS Top-25 Poll.  He 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. 

Eighteen of the 22 players were nominees for the outstanding offensive player of the year in the FCS last season, including 14 finalists and led by the recipient, Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State. This year, the record-setting quarterback will attempt to become the second two-time winner of the 31-year-old award, joining Appalachian State's Armanti Edwards in 2008 and '09.  Briscoe has all of his leading receivers back this season, but he will be challenged to win another Payton Award by the standout group of nominees. Included are Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud, the third-place finisher last year, and Fordham running back Chase Edmonds, who was fourth.

The Payton Award, first handed out in 1987, has had past winners such as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, John Friesz, Brian Finneran, Jimmy Garoppolo and Cooper Kupp move on to the NFL.

The watch list will have updates during the season. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on 25 finalists following the regular season.

Also named to the watch list were quarterbacks Taryn Christion of South Dakota State, Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, Devlin Hodges of Samford, DeVante Kincade of Grambling State, Kyle Lauletta of Richmond, Tyrell Maxwell of Gardner-Webb and Bryan Schor of 2016 FCS champion James Madison; running backs Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks of Albany, John Lovett of Princeton and Detrez Newsome of Western Carolina; fullback Joe Protheroe of Cal Poly; wide receivers Emmanuel Butler of Northern Arizona, Kamron Lewis of Saint Francis, Troy Pelletier of Lehigh, Justin Watson of Penn and Jake Wieneke of South Dakota State; tight end Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State; and offensive tackle Brandon Parker of North Carolina A&T.

The breakdown of the watch list by position: 10 quarterbacks, five wide receivers, four running backs, one fullback, one tight end and one offensive tackle. The Big Sky Conference had the most nominees with four, while CAA Football and the Missouri Valley Football Conference had three each.

Also this season, STATS will present the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year. STATS will hold its national awards banquet the night of Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the FCS national championship game.

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