Adams, Kupp Highlight Initial Walter Payton Award Watch List - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Adams, Kupp Highlight Initial Walter Payton Award Watch List

Posted: Updated:
Well-known already in The Sports Network postseason awards circles, junior quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr. and sophomore Cooper Kupp are on the initial Watch List for the Walter Payton Award presented annually by TSN to the top player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Adams was the 2013 runner-up for the Payton Award while Kupp was a unanimous winner of the Jerry Rice Award given by TSN to the top freshman in FCS. They join a list of 20 players on the initial Watch List.

Adams finished with 446 votes last season, 130 behind the 576 of winner Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, who was drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft (62nd pick overall). Adams was the only non-senior in the top four, with fifth-place finisher Michael Nebrich of Fordham finishing with 106 votes. Nebrich is on the initial Watch List as well.

Adams enters his senior season 20-4 as a starter, including a 15-1 record in Big Sky Conference games. The Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season, Adams has led EWU to back-to-back semifinal appearances in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs and a pair of league titles.

A year ago he passed for 4,994 yards and 55 touchdowns -- which both rank third all-time in an FCS season -- and rushed for 605 yards and four touchdowns for the Eagles. Formerly from Pasadena, Calif., his 5,559 yards of offense were the second-most in FCS history.

Kupp has averaged a touchdown reception for every 4.4 catches so far in his young career, with an average of 18.2 yards per catch and 11 receptions of 40 yards or more. He accounted for numerous school, conference and FCS records in 2013 with a sensational debut season of 93 catches for 1,691 yards and 21 touchdowns. Besides winning the Jerry Rice Award, the 2012 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, Wash., was a first team selection on all nine FCS All-America teams and earned four other FCS Freshman of the Year accolades.

Both Adams and Kupp have already been named to four preseason All-America teams as first team selections (TSN, Lindy's, Sporting News, Athlon), as well as Watch Lists for awards presented by College Football Performance Awards. A year ago, Adams won the CFPA National Performer of the Year for FCS, and Kupp won that organization's FCS Wide Receiver Award.

The Eagles finished the 2013 season 12-3 and a perfect 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference for the first time in school history. Eastern opened the season with a 49-46 victory over 25th-ranked Oregon State, and went on to advance to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs for the third time in four years.

Former Eagles Erik Meyer and Bo Levin Mitchell both won the Payton Award – Meyer in 2005 and Mitchell in 2011 – when both were senior quarterbacks for the Eagles. Matt Nichols (2009), Taiwan Jones (2010) and Jesse Chatman (2001) all finished fourth in the voting for the Payton Award in their final seasons as Eagles.

More About the Payton Award . . .

This year's winner will join a list of Payton Award greats such as former Eagles Erik Meyer (2005) and Bo Levi Mitchell (2011). Steve McNair, John Friesz, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Brian Finneran and Armanti Edwards are among the other more notable winners.

The Walter Payton Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top three vote-getters will be invited to the presentation of the award.

The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards. The Buchanan Award honors the outstanding defensive player in the FCS, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year. The winners of those three awards, as well as the three Payton finalists, will be invited to the national banquet on Dec. 15, 2015.

  • College

    • Idaho beats Santa Clara to advance in Great Alaska Shootout

      It took another come-from-behind effort but Idaho got it done in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout, defeating Santa Clara 69-59.

    • Eagles roll past Eastern Kentucky 83-62

      Eastern Washington held the Colonels to 34.5 percent shooting from the field in improving to 3-3 on the season.

    • Eagles lose big to No. 10 Oregon, 81-40

      Eastern struggled from field goal range, only shooting 30.2% on the night while the Ducks shot 58%.

    • Alex Grinch named Broyles Award semifinalist

      Grinch, in his third year as the Cougars defensive coordinator, has taken the WSU defense into elite status. WSU enters the week No. 11 in the country in total defense (303.8).

    • Cougars to face Huskies in 2017 Apple Cup Saturday

      Washington State is 9-2 for the first time since 2003 and is looking for its fifth 10-win season in program history (1997, 2001, 2002, 2003).

    • EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves joins SWX Tonight after playoff snub

      Despite being ranked 19th in the STATS FCS rankings, Eastern Washington fell short of and FCS Tournament berth. On Monday, just over 24 hours after the snub, Eagle Athletic Director Bill Chaves joined SWX Tonight to talk about missing the playoffs, recap Aaron Best's first year at the helm and take a look at the university's basketball programs.

    • Press Pass Pullman: Apple Cup Week

      In this week's episode of Press Pass Pullman, Mike Leach tackles important topics like how to win your family Thanksgiving football game. Before that, he talks about preparing for the Huskies with a bye week, Jake Browning, and playoffs. In the (extended) 'Fan Question of the Week,' he touches on holiday traditions, turducken, and which states are his favorite and least favorite. Theo Lawson also joins the show to discuss this year's UW squad and last year's Apple Cup.

    • Super 8 Plays of the Week 11/20

      Check out the football championship edition of our Super 8 Plays of the Week.

    • Eags fall short against Georgia State in MGM Resorts Main Event opener

      Eagle head coach Shantay Legans knew the Panthers were going to be a handful for his road-weary team, and a valiant defensive effort in the first half and game-ending 11-1 run by EWU wasn't enough.

    • Eags denied playoff spot as Sblendorio picks up final weekly honor

      By EWU Athletics A near record-breaking performance by wide receiver Nic Sblendorio earned him an honor on Sunday (Nov. 19), but earlier in the day the Eastern Washington University football team was dealt a shocking blow when it was not selected to play in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.   Eastern wrapped up a 7-4 finish overall and 6-2 record in league play with a 59-33 romp over Portland State on Saturday, a game in which the senior caught nine ...
    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/