Walter Payton Award Finalists Announced
Campbell, Fowlkes, Long named top-3 in I-AA football's version of the Heisman.
Nov. 29, 2004
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - William & Mary quarterback Lang Campbell, Appalachian State wide receiver DaVon Fowlkes and Sam Houston State quarterback Dustin Long have been selected as the top three finalists for the 2004 Walter Payton Award, which will be presented at the 18th Annual I-AA College Football Awards in Chattanooga, TN, on Dec. 16th. Nearly 100 ballots were cast for the Payton, which goes to I-AA's top player, as well as for the Buck Buchanan Award (I-AA defensive player of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (I-AA Coach of the Year). Winners of the Buchanan and Robinson will also be announced on Dec. 16th, and the voting breakdown for those awards will not be revealed until that time.
Campbell, a senior from Winchester, VA, threw for 3,037 yards with 21 touchdowns and just one interception during the regular season, and also ran for 201 yards and seven scores. Campbell won Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year honors for his efforts. He helped guide the Tribe to a share of the Atlantic 10 title and the conference's automatic berth in the I-AA playoffs, where the Tribe won in the first round against Hampton, 42-35, Saturday. Campbell and William & Mary will face Delaware in a quarterfinal matchup this Saturday.
Fowlkes, a senior from Fort Wayne, IN, led the nation in receiving yards and all-purpose yards per game. Fowlkes amassed 103 receptions for 1,618 yards and 14 touchdowns in helping the Mountaineers to a 6-5 finish. He tallied 147.1 receiving yards per game and 210 all-purpose yards per contest, and was named the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts.
Long, a senior from Groves, TX, passed for 3, 408 yards and 31 touchdowns during Sam Houston State's 9-2 regular season. A transfer from Texas A & M, Long was named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year in his only season at Sam Houston State. He led the Bearkats to a share of the Southland title and a playoff berth, and helped his team to a first round win against Western Kentucky Saturday. Sam Houston State travels to Eastern Washington in a quarterfinal tilt this Saturday.
The 2003 Walter Payton Award went to Colgate running back Jamaal Branch, who finished tied for 12th in this year's voting. Former winners Tony Romo (2002, Eastern Illinois, Dallas Cowboys), Brian Westbrook (2001, Villanova, Philadelphia Eagles), Adrian Peterson (1999, Georgia Southern, Chicago Bears), Jerry Azumah (1998, New Hampshire, Chicago Bears), Brian Finneran (1997, Villanova, Atlanta Falcons), and Steve McNair (1994, Alcorn State, Tennessee Titans) are among those serving in the NFL.
Voting, which is based on regular season performance only, was conducted among nearly 100 media members and media relations professionals covering I-AA. The top three finalists (in terms of votes received) for the Walter Payton Award are annually invited to attend the presentation of the Awards, with the winner of the Payton not announced until the event. The 18th Annual I-AA College Football Awards will be held Dec. 16th in Chattanooga, TN, on the eve of the NCAA I-AA national championship.
2004 WALTER PAYTON AWARDFINALISTS
Lang Campbell (William & Mary)
DaVon Fowlkes (Appalachian State)
Dustin Long (Sam Houston State)
Erik Meyer (Eastern Washington)
Charles Anthony (Tennessee State)
Chaz Williams (Georgia Southern)
Martin Hankins (SE Louisiana)
Joel Sambursky (Southern Illinois
Ricky Santos (New Hampshire)
Clifton Dawson (Harvard)
Craig Ochs (Montana)
Jamaal Branch (Colgate)
Vincent Jackson (Northern Colo.)
Oscar Bonds (Jacksonville State)
Richie Williams (App. State)
Travis Lulay (Montana State)