Oh, can the voters make a strong case for so many players nominated for this year's FCS awards.
And two of the watch lists just got stronger.
The season-long excellence of Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick and Towson running back Terrance West earned both players a spot on the Walter Payton Award Watch List on Tuesday, while Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman joined the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List.
The 25th Walter Payton Award will honor the outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision and the Buck Buchanan Award is presented to the FCS' outstanding defensive player. The two highest player awards in the division are presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.
Quick, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior, is regarded as the top-ranked 2012 NFL prospect from the FCS. His skills are as imposing as his size. He has caught 53 passes for 905 yards (17.1 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns in the Mountaineers' 7-3 start, including the game-winning score against then-No. 1 Georgia Southern. He is an excellent blocker as well. This past Saturday, he became Appalachian State's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,227).
Go West? No, West has gone every direction in spinning his competition around during his freshman season. Towson's 5-11, 222-pound tailback has rushed for 1,190 yards and an FCS-high 25 touchdowns through the Tigers' 8-2 start. He has scored at least two touchdowns in eight of the last nine games and helped lead a remarkable turnaround from last season, when his team finished 1-10. He also is a leading candidate for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, which will be presented to the FCS freshman of the year.
Norman has spent his senior season shutting down offenses. The 6-2, 190- pounder has played air-tight defense, ranking among the national leaders with 14 passes defended (two interceptions, 12 pass breakups). He leads Coastal Carolina with 57 tackles and has blocked a kick and forced a fumble. In his career, he has 13 interceptions and a Big South Conference-record 34 passes defended.
Each Watch List features 20 players, and their bios can be found at http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page= cfoot2/fcsawards/index.aspx
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on the Payton and Buchanan awards after the regular season, beginning Nov. 21. The voters also will choose winners of the Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year) and the 25th Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) to be presented at the FCS national awards banquet Friday night, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas. The Sports Network also presents and Fathead.com sponsors those two awards.