The Walter Payton Award is given to the top offensive player in the FCS. With several All-Americans and statistical leaders returning in 2019, the race to this award is going to be a tight one.
Let's get the conversation going right now and let us know who your favorite is to win this honor in January by voting in the poll below.
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NOTE: Voting ends at 1:30 p.m. CT on May 28.
Noah Johnson, QB, Alcorn State (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 197-317 passing for 2,207 yards, 15 TDs and 9 INT; 144 rushes for 1,080 yards and 11 TDs
Johnson was just a headache for SWAC defenses to defend. His ability to make plays with his arm and feet was a lethal weapon for the Alcorn State offense. Johnson was responsible for 156 points, which ranked tied for 23rd in the FCS.
Bryce Nunnelly, WR, Chattanooga (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 79 rec. for 1,237 yards and 7 TDs
Nunnelly's 112.5 receiving yards per game was sixth in the FCS while his 1,237 receiving yards was eighth. His 7.2 catches per game tied for ninth in the subdivision.
A.J. Hines, RB, Duquesne (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 266 rushes for 1,520 yards and 15 TDs; 13 rec. for 236 yards and 2 TDs
Hines has been a beast for Duquesne since his freshman year when he won the 2016 Jerry Rice Award for top FCS freshman. Last year's 1,520 yards rushing was third in the FCS and his 15 TDs ranked sixth.
Caylin Newton, QB, Howard (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 156-304 passing for 2,629 yards, 22 TDs and 17 INT; 156 rushes for 504 yards and 4 TDs
Newton improved his passing numbers from his freshman to sophomore seasons while still being dangerous with his legs. Just ask FBS Ohio in the season opener, where he threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 93 more yards and one TD.
Mitch Gueller, WR, Idaho State (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 62 rec. for 1,259 yards and 9 TDs
Probably one of the more underrated receivers in the FCS, Gueller had seven games of 100+ receiving yards and ranked fourth in the FCS with 114.5 receiving yards per game.
James Robinson, RB, Illinois State (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 205 rushes for 1,290 yards and 12 TDs; 21 rec. for 164 yards and 1 TD
Robinson is a premier RB in the FCS and has been for multiple years. His 117.3 rushing yards per game last year ranked ninth in the FCS while his 1,290 total yards rushing ranked 10th.
Calvin Turner Jr., QB, Jacksonville (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 206 rushes for 1,431 yards and 17 TDs; 20-50 passing for 377 yards, 1 TD and 4 INT
Turner runs the option offense to perfection and lit up the stat sheet last year. His 1,431 yards rushing ranked fifth in the FCS and his 17 rushing TDs tied for third.
Josh Pearson, WR, Jacksonville State (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 67 rec. for 1,123 yards and 17 TDs
Pearson emerged as one of the top receiving threats in the FCS last year at 6-foot-4. His 17 touchdown catches tied for first in the FCS as he caught a touchdown in every regular-season game but one.
Zerrick Cooper, QB, Jacksonville State (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 251-417 passing for 3,416 yards, 32 TDs and 14 INT; 109 rushes for 366 yards and 6 TDs
In his first season with the program after transferring from Clemson, Cooper got JSU's passing game back on track. His 32 passing TDs tied for third in the FCS and his 3,416 yards passing ranked fourth.
Michael Bandy, WR, San Diego (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 88 rec. for 1,698 yards and 14 TDs
Bandy averaged a ridiculous 141.5 yards receiving per game. Against Davidson, he had 324 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Bandy's 14 touchdown receptions ranked fifth in the FCS and his 1,698 yards was first by more than 200 yards.
Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 67 rec. for 1,332 yards and 17 TDs
Johnson emerged as the next big-time target for the Jackrabbits. He caught 67 passes for 1,332 yards and 17 TDs, which tied for the most receiving scores in the FCS. Johnson went over 100 yards receiving in a game six times.
Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State (So.)
2018 Stats: 117 carries for 1,116 yards and 11 TDs; 6 rec. for 84 yards and 1 TD
Strong wasn't a huge part of the offense until late in the season due to injuries, making his numbers even more impressive. In the final six games, he rushed for more than 100 yards each outing besides one 92-yard performance in a blowout playoff win versus Duquesne. All 11 TDs came in those last six games and his 9.5 yards per carry ranked first in the FCS.
Tom Flacco, QB, Towson (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 269-439 passing, 3,251 yards, 28 TDs, 11 INT; 168 rushes for 742 yards, 4 TDs
In his first year in the program, Flacco lit it up for Towson. He led the team in passing and rushing yards. His 332.8 total yards of offense per game ranked third in the FCS. Flacco's 3,251 passing yards ranked fifth.
Jake Maier, QB, UC Davis (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 364-557 passing, 3,931 yards, 34 TDs, 10 INT
Maier's 3,931 yards passing ranked third in the FCS as he led UC Davis to a historic run to the quarterfinals. He finished second in the subdivision in passing touchdowns. Maier threw for more than 300 yards in a game six different times.
Tyrie Adams, QB, Western Carolina (Sr.)
2018 Stats: 188-300 passing for 2,417 yards, 16 TDs and 6 INT; 194 rushes for 1,006 yards and 10 TDs
Adams led Western Carolina in passing and rushing as a top dual-threat quarterback in the FCS. His 312.1 total yards of offense per game ranked eighth in the FCS.
Eric Barriere, QB, Eastern Washington (Jr.)
2018 Stats: 190-311 passing for 2,450 yards, 24 TDs and 9 INT; 99 rushes for 613 yards and 8 TDs
Barriere stepped into the starting role for EWU midway through the regular season and showed his talents right away, leading the Eagles all the way to the national title game. His 198 points responsible for tied for the ninth best in the FCS.
NOTE: Voting ends at 1:30 p.m. CT on May 28.
Who’s The Preseason Favorite To Win The 2019 Walter Payton Award?