By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The finalists for the Football Championship Subdivision's top player honors were announced Monday and ballots were sent to the voters of the Walter Payton and Buck Buchanan awards, sponsored by Fathead.com.
Each award has 20 finalists. The Payton Award is bestowed on the outstanding player in the FCS and the Buchanan Award is given to the outstanding defensive player in the FCS.
Ballots for the Payton and Buchanan awards - as well as for the Eddie Robinson Award which honors the FCS coach of the year and also is sponsored by Fathead.com - were sent to a panel of nearly 175 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. All three award winners will be announced at the national awards banquet on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff senior wide receiver Raymond Webber was the final addition among the Payton Award finalists. He leads the FCS with 101 receptions and 1,429 receiving yards and has caught 10 touchdowns.
Webber joined the Payton Award Watch List as a finalist alongside quarterbacks Matt Barr of Western Illinois, Mike Brown of Liberty, Pat Devlin of Delaware, Denarius McGhee of Montana State, Jeremy Moses of Stephen F. Austin, DeAndre Presley of Appalachian State, Scott Riddle of Elon, Casey Therriault of Jackson State, Steve Valentino of Dayton and Chris Whitney of Villanova; running backs Nate Eachus of Colgate, Chris Evans of Samford, Henry Harris of Southeast Missouri State, Taiwan Jones of Eastern Washington, Kyle Minett of South Dakota State, Chase Reynolds of Montana and Frank Warren of Grambling State; wide receiver Tysson Poots of Southern Utah; and offensive tackle Ben Ijalana of Villanova.
Other nominees this season were quarterbacks K.J. Black of Prairie View A&M, Thomas DeMarco of Old Dominion, Michael Herrick of Northern Arizona, Cameron Higgins of Weber State, Malcolm Long of South Carolina State and Andrew Selle of Montana; running backs Jonathan Grimes of William & Mary and Devon Moore of Appalachian State; and wide receiver Matt Szczur of Villanova.
The Buck Buchanan Award finalists grew by two players as the season-long excellence of Western Illinois senior linebacker Kyle Glazier and San Diego junior defensive end Mario Kurn earned spots. Glazier's average of 12.45 tackles per game ranks third in the FCS, while Kurn leads the nation with 17 sacks, totaling 27 tackles for loss and 66 overall tackles.
Glazier and Kurn joined the Buchanan Award Watch List as finalists alongside defensive tackles Kenrick Ellis of Hampton and Martin Parker of Richmond; nose tackle Brent Russell of Georgia Southern; defensive ends Jabari Fletcher of Appalachian State and Ameet Pall of Wofford; linebackers Matt Evans of New Hampshire, Tyler Holmes of Massachusetts, Eric McBride of Richmond, J.C. Sherritt of Eastern Washington (last year's runner-up for the award), Bryce Smith of Samford, D.J. Smith of Appalachian State, Antoine Wilkinson of Missouri State and Jabara Williams of Stephen F. Austin; cornerbacks Korey Lindsey of Southern Illinois and Trumaine Johnson of Montana; and safeties Mark LeGree of Appalachian State, Eugene Clifford of Tennessee State and James Vercammen of Dayton.
Other nominees this season were defensive ends Christian Anthony of Grambling State, Christian Clark of Sacramento State and Malcolm Taylor of Alcorn State; linebacker Terence Thomas of Villanova; cornerbacks Jeremy Caldwell of Eastern Kentucky and Justin Rogers of Richmond; and safeties Jason House of Southern University and Mike McElroy of Southern Illinois.
Voting will reflect only the regular season. The FCS playoffs begin Saturday, Nov. 27.