Voting for the FCS national awards has been happening for the last week and I'm thankful to have a vote. What's the process like? We (the same voters in the STATS Top 25 poll) are given a list of finalists and then we vote for our Top 5.
Below is how I voted for each award and why I voted for my No. 1 selection.
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RELATED: Brian's Top 5 Votes
Walter Payton Award (Offensive)
1. Trey Lance, NDSU QB
2. Eric Barriere, EWU QB
3. Kevin Thomson, Sac State QB
4. James Robinson, Illinois State RB
5. Case Cookus, NAU QB
Explanation: Honestly, I thought this was a no-brainer. Trey Lance has the numbers to attract the eyes of some voters: 151-219 passing for 2,187 yards, 23 TDs and 0 interceptions along with 106 rushes for 741 yards and 10 TDs. His passing efficiency is first in the FCS at 187.5. And when it comes to just pure skill set, he's the best all-around quarterback in the FCS. Lance isn't good just because of NDSU's offensive system. The Bison offense is scoring 40 points per game (4th in the FCS) because of how good Lance is. He can make any throw on the field and isn't relying on just safe, short to intermediate throws to complement the power-run game. Lance is first in the FCS with 9.99 yards per pass attempt. And he's as good of a running threat at QB as the Bison have ever had.
Buck Buchanan Award (Defensive)
1. Dante Olson, Montana LB
2. Ron'Dell Carter, JMU DL
3. Sully Laiche, Nicholls DL
4. Christian Rozeboom, SDSU LB
5. Zach Hall, SEMO LB
Explanation: Dante Olson is just an animal. After racking up 151 total tackles last year, he has 152 tackles this year (1st in the FCS) along with 9.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks. Olson is asked to do a lot in Montana's defensive scheme. But he's not just a between-the-tackles thumper. I got a chance to watch him in person and Olson's sideline-to-sideline speed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds is scary. This dude's heading to the NFL.
Jerry Rice Award (Freshman)
1. Trey Lance, NDSU QB
2. Jeff Undercuffler, Albany QB
3. Ailym Ford, Chattanooga RB
4. Javon Williams Jr., SIU RB
5. Xavier Gipson, SFA WR
Explanation: The Walter Payton Award explanation pretty much sums this one up.
Eddie Robinson Award (Coach)
1. Troy Taylor, Sac State
2. Matt Entz, NDSU
3. Bernard Clark Jr., Robert Morris
4. Mark Hudspeth, Austin Peay
5. Curt Cignetti, JMU
Explanation: The coaching job Troy Taylor has done this year is amazing. It just goes to show what great coaching can do for a team. The Hornets went 2-8 last year and 0-7 in the Big Sky Conference. In Taylor's first year as head coach, Sac State is 9-3 overall, went 7-1 in the Big Sky with a share of the conference title and is the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Taylor and his coaching staff have done this with mostly the same group of players as last season.
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