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Old Dominion's Heinicke captures 2012 Walter Payton Award

Monarchs' quarterback honored as the most outstanding player in FCS college football

Taylor Heinicke set the Division I single-game records with 730 passing yards.

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The second sophomore to win the Walter Payton Award says his team's season was all about the seniors.

Taylor Heinicke says the seniors were there first when Old Dominion's fourth- year football program was being built to a high level of success.

The Monarchs didn't jump to their highest level, though, until Heinicke became the starting quarterback in the last season and a half, and many other people knew it, including the senior class.

Just as impressed were voters of the 2012 Walter Payton Award, who on Monday night made Heinicke the 26th recipient of the outstanding player honor in the Football Championship Subdivision. He received nearly half of the first-place votes from a national media panel - 72 of 145 - and 531 points to capture the award over Stony Brook senior running back Miguel Maysonet (284 points) and Wofford senior fullback Eric Breitenstein (197).

"People kept working that much harder for the seniors," Heinicke said. "They came here based on a pamphlet and something that could have happened, and it did."

Heinicke didn't have his redshirt lifted as a true freshman until the fifth game of the 2011 season, but he went on to become the runner-up for the Jerry Rice Award, which honors the FCS freshman of the year.

He then soared to greater heights this season. As ODU finished 10-1 in the regular season, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Atlanta led the FCS in passing yards (4,158), total yards (4,535), touchdown passes (35) and points responsible for (24.2 per game). He rushed for 377 yards and eight touchdowns.

Heinicke, a mechanical engineering major, commanded the national spotlight on Sept. 22 when he set Division I single-game records with 730 passing yards and 791 total yards in Old Dominion's 64-61 victory over New Hampshire.

The Monarchs considered themselves the unofficial champion of CAA Football because they posted the best record at 7-1, although they were ineligible for the conference championship because their program will depart for the Bowl Subdivision after this season.

Including ODU's two playoff games, Heinicke finished the season with an FCS- record 5,076 passing yards. He threw for 44 touchdowns, rushed for 11 more and had 5,546 yards of total offense.

"It's huge, very humbling," Heinicke said. "It's the Heisman of the FCS. That's a huge honor, very humbling and I'm very excited about it. I can't thank enough of my family, my coaches, my trainer back home. All this hard work is really paying off."

The first sophomore to win the Walter Payton Award was Georgia Southern's Adrian Peterson in 1999.

Maysonet, from Riverhead, N.Y., became the all-time leading rusher at Stony Brook and in the Big South Conference this season. He led the FCS in rushing yards per game during the regular season - 156.5. Add in the conference co- championship squad's two playoff games in a 10-3 season and Maysonet totaled 1,964 rushing yards and 2,316 all-purpose yards, and scored 23 touchdowns.

Breitenstein, from Valle Crucis, N.C., ranked third nationally in rushing yards per game (150.3) during the regular season, including a Southern Conference single-game record 321 yards against Elon on Sept. 29. Wofford won a share of the conference title and went on to play two playoff games, with Breitenstein finishing with 2,035 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. He ended his career as the active leader in the FCS with 5,730 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns.

All three players were feted at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation along with the winners of the Buck Buchanan Award (Montana State's Caleb Schreibeis, FCS outstanding defensive player), Jerry Rice Award (Villanova's John Robertson, FCS freshman of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (North Dakota State's Craig Bohl, FCS coach of the year).

The awards are voted upon by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.

There were 145 ballots cast in the Walter Payton Award voting. The results:


2012 Walter Payton Award Voting
Name School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
1 Taylor Heinicke Old Dominion 72 29 13 6 4 531
2 Miguel Maysonet Stony Brook 13 25 20 21 17 284
3 Eric Breitenstein Wofford 11 15 15 12 13 197
4 Erik Lora Eastern Illinois 7 14 15 7 14 164
5 Gavin McCarney Colgate 15 9 10 6 5 158
6 Casey Brockman Murray St 8 7 9 16 12 139
7 Zach Zenner South Dakota St 4 8 14 14 12 134
8 Aaron Mellette Elon 1 6 9 11 10 88
9 DeNarius McGhee Montana St 3 6 9 7 7 87
10 Jimmy Garoppolo E. Illinois 3 5 7 11 6 84
11 Wynrick Smothers C. Arkansas 2 4 9 5 14 77
12 Shakir Bell Indiana St 1 5 5 8 1 57
13 Timothy Flanders Sam Houston St 2 4 4 3 5 53
14 Jamal Jackson Appalachian St 1 1 2 6 6 33
15 Brad Sorensen Southern Utah 0 3 1 4 1 24
16 Deonte Williams Cal Poly 0 2 0 3 8 22
17 Zach Bauman N. Arizona 1 2 1 0 3 19
18 Terrance West Towson 0 0 1 3 4 13
19 Matt Denham E. Kentucky 0 0 1 2 1 8
20 Jamaine Cook Youngstown State 1 0 0 0 2 7

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Walter Payton Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2013 Jimmy Garoppolo Votes 2013 History
2012 Taylor Heinicke Votes 2012 Past
2011 Bo Levi Mitchell Votes 2011 Winners
Buck Buchanan Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2013 Brad Daly Votes 2013 History
2012 Caleb Schreibeis Votes 2012 Past
2011 Matt Evans Votes 2011 Winners
Eddie Robinson Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2013 Craig Bohl Votes 2013 History
2012 Craig Bohl Votes 2012 Past
2011 Rob Ambrose Votes 2011 Winners
Jerry Rice Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2013 Cooper Kupp Votes 2013 History
2012 John Robertson Votes 2012 Past
2011 Terrance West Votes 2011 Winners
Breaking The Line
by Samuel G. Freedman
Samuel G. Freedman's "Breaking The Line" vividly recreates the world of black college football in the civil rights era with a gripping chronicle of the 1967 season for coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State and Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither at Florida A&M.
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