Armanti Edwards wins 2009 Walter Payton Award
Appalachian State quarterback honored as the most outstanding player in FCS college football
Edwards became the first player to capture the award in back-to-back seasons and the first two-time winner of the Payton Award. Appalachian State linebacker Dexter Coakley, who won the first two Buck Buchanan Awards in 1995-96 and James Madison coach Mickey Matthews, who won the Eddie Robinson Award in 1999 and again in 2008, are the only other two-time award winners at the FCS level.
The Payton Award, named for the legendary Jackson State and Chicago Bears running back, is presented annually to the top player in FCS.
"It is a great honor to win it again," said Edwards. "But I wouldn't have done any of this without the help of my teammates."
The 6-foot-tall, 185-pound senior signal-caller became the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards in his career. He ranked third nationally in total offense and fifth in passing efficiency in the regular season, and finished with 3,291 yards passing and 679 yards rushing, with 30 combined touchdowns for 2009.
For his career, Edwards finished with 14,753 yards of total offense, ranking him second on the all-time list behind Alcorn State great Steve McNair.
Edwards missed the first game of the year after a lawn mower badly lacerated his right foot at the beginning of training camp and required 35 stitches to close. He also sat out the final game of the regular season with an ACL strain.
The multi-talented quarterback led Appalachian State to its fifth consecutive Southern Conference title and playoff berth and had over 400 yards of total offense three times and over 300 yards seven times during the regular season.
For the second year in a row, Edwards finished first by a landslide, with 55 first-place votes and 431 points. Terrell Hudgins of Elon became the highest-placing receiver since Villanova's Brian Finneran won the award in 1997, finishing second with 268 points, just ahead of Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim.
The Walter Payton Award was established in 1987 by The Sports Network and previous winners of the honor include current NFL players such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (2002, Eastern Illinois), Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook (2001, Villanova), and former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair (1994, Alcorn State).