From SLU Athletics
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana junior quarterback Bryan Bennett was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List, the Sports Network announced on Tuesday.
The 27th annual award, presented by The Sports Network, honors the outstanding player in the FCS. This year's winner will stand alongside a list of Payton Award greats such as Steve McNair, John Friesz, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Brian Finneran and Armanti Edwards. Bennett, as well as fellow quarterbacks Quinn Epperly of Princeton and Mason Mills of San Diego, is the latest to be added to the Watch List.
The junior transfer from Oregon has been equally dangerous with his arm and his legs. Bennett leads the team with 736 yards rushing and tops the Southland Conference with 13 rushing touchdowns. He has also thrown for 13 touchdowns and 2,069 yards, completing over 62 percent of his throws this week.
"We were excited to see Bryan receive this recognition," Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts said of the Granada Hills, Calif. who has led the No. 14 Lions to an 8-2 record and 5-0 mark in Southland Conference play. "We feel like his best football is ahead of him. He's self driven and continues to work hard to improve each week."
Bennett is the second Lion to earn a spot on the Payton Award Watch List since the program returned in 2003. In 2004, then-sophomore Southeastern quarterback Martin Hankins finished seventh in the voting for the award. Bennett is one of two Southland Conference players on the list, along with Sam Houston State running back Tim Flanders.
Other nominees on the Watch List are quarterbacks Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, Brock Jensen of North Dakota State, Jeff Mathews of Cornell, Michael Nebrich of Fordham and John Robertson of Villanova; running backs Zach Bauman of Northern Arizona, Isaiah Crowell of Alabama State, Kyle Harbridge of Saint Francis (Pa.), Lorenzo Taliaferro of Coastal Carolina, Fabian Truss of Samford, Terrance West of Towson and Zach Zenner of South Dakota State; and wide receivers Lee Kurfis of Lehigh, Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois and Walter Powell of Murray State.
Ballots for the award will be sent to a national panel of 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 Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation to be held Dec. 16 in Philadelphia.
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 honors the FCS coach of the year. The winners of those three awards also will be invited to the national banquet.