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Southeastern QB Cole Kelley wins FCS Walter Payton Award

Southeastern Quarterback Cole Kelley (No. 15)
Southeastern Quarterback Cole Kelley (No. 15)(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)
Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 2:41 PM CDT
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CHICAGO (WAFB) - Former Arkansas Razorback and current Southeastern Lion quarterback Cole Kelley has been named the FCS Walter Payton Award winner on Saturday, May 15.

Kelley is the first Lion to take win the award and just the third to be named a finalist, along with Martin Hankins (2004) and Bryan Bennett (2013, 2014) who transferred to Southeastern from the University of Oregon.

The 6-foot-7 quarterback led the FCS in passing with 2,662 yards and scoring with 164. He was also fourth in passing percentage at 68.9 and he tied second in the Southland Conference with seven rushing touchdowns.

The Lions’ signal-caller picked up his second career Stats Perform FCS National Offensive Player of the Week honor on April 20 after capping the spring season with 418 passing yards and five total touchdowns in the Lions’ 55-48 shootout loss at No. 17 Southern Illinois.

Kelley completed 34-of-42 passes for two touchdowns while rushing for three more scores. Kelley racked up 462 yards and four touchdowns, both seasons highs in a season opening loss to Sam Houston.

He also tossed four touchdown passes in a win over River Bell Classic rival Nicholls, in addition to hauling in his second touchdown pass of the season against the Colonels.

The former Arkansas signal-caller was named all-America by Stats Perform and the Associated Press, Kelley also garnered Southland Conference Spring Offensive Player of the Year recognition following an electric year under center for the Lions in which he threw for more than 300 yards in all seven games.

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