Cole Kelley, Dai’Jean Dixon Land on Walter Payton Award Watch List


CHICAGO – Quarterbacks Cole Kelley (Southeastern) and Cameron Ward (UIW), along with Nicholls wide receiver Dai’Jean Dixon, are among the 35 members of the Walter Payton Award Watch List, announced by Stats Perform on Wednesday.

Looking to join Sam Houston State’s Jeremiah Briscoe and Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards as the only repeat winners of the award, Kelley headlined the Stats Perform All-America First Team announced earlier this week and is the leader of the Southland preseason-favorite Lions. He finished second nationally in passing yards (2,662) and points responsible for (164) over seven games in the spring.

The first Southland student-athlete to win the Jerry Rice Award as the FCS freshman of the year, Ward was named Third-Team Preseason All-America after he led FCS quarterbacks in passing touchdowns (24) and ranked third nationally in completions per game (30.5) and passing yards per game (376.7).

An NFL Combine invitee last year, Dixon enters his final season as a Second-Team Preseason All-American and ranks eighth on the Southland’s career leaderboards for receiving yards (2,800) and receiving touchdowns (27).

The Walter Payton Award, named for the legendary running back, enters its 35th season and is presented to the national FCS offensive player of the year. The Payton has served as a stepping-stone for such NFL players as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and Trey Lance. A national media panel will select the winner after the regular season.

{Courtesy: release from the Southland Conference}

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