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What others say about you matters ... a lot.
The Sports Network/Fathead.com 2011 FCS Awards Presentation
Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Buck Buchanan and Eddie Robinson Awards
Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 at the Embassy Suites/Frisco Convention Center
Frisco, Texas

2011 Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell of Eastern Washington University
"Honestly, it was just an amazing event. Obviously, winning the award was awesome. It was a great honor for me and my team and my coaches. Just the event overall, The Sports Network and Fathead.com, everything they did, they made an amazing event and everybody had a great time. It was fun. There was never a point in time where you're just like, ?OK, what's going on now?' It was always just something's going on, something's going on."

2011 Walter Payton Award finalist Chris Lum of Lehigh University
"I think The Sports Network and Fathead both put on a really great event. It was an awesome venue, very well prepared and set up. From that standpoint, it was an awesome event. Also, just to be here and invited was such an honor. Even though I didn't win, it was a great experience, I took it all in."

2011 Walter Payton Award runner-up Shakir Bell of Indiana State University
"It's one of the greatest experiences I've ever experienced in my life. I'm here with some great guys, great competition. I'm going to remember this for a long time. Hopefully, I'll be back here next year."

2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient Matt Evans of the University of New Hampshire
"It was an awesome event, great food and unbelievable meeting Jerry Rice, I'm sure that was the highlight for everybody. And just having my family there, it was a great experience to share with them."

2011 Jerry Rice Award recipient Terrance West of Towson University
"It was just a nice experience to take back to my team and tell them about Texas for next year, and, hopefully, we can come back down and experience it as a team.

"Jerry Rice is a funny guy, a down-to-earth guy who was great to talk to. I appreciate being the first one to receive the award, that's just a blessing right there. ... Everything else really speaks for itself."

2011 Eddie Robinson Award recipient Rob Ambrose of Towson University
"Oh wow, the list is enormous. Even afterwards I got to spend some time with Walter Payton's mother (Alyne Payton). I'm originally from Chicago and Walter Payton was one of my favorite players ever, probably only second to Jerry Rice, who was actually there (at the FCS Awards Banquet) and I got to spend some time to him. Holding the bust of the Eddie Robinson Award and being in the room with so many amazing football people and great players, I don't think I could pick out one moment."

Georgia Buchanan, widow of Buck Buchanan and presenter of the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award
"I thought it was absolutely fabulous and it was really good that you added Jerry Rice's accomplishments to the program. I thought it was fantastic, especially for the student-athletes."

Jerry Rice, presenter of the Jerry Rice Award and a 2006 inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame and a 2010 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
"What I was able to accomplish from a very small predominantly black school, it gives these players an opportunity. ... I'm honored to be here and be a part of this. It's probably going to be a legacy for a long, long time. Even when I'm gone, I'm hoping that they still have the Jerry Rice Award and they can pass it on to the guy that exemplifies what a college player should be."

James Madison University head football coach Mickey Matthews, presenter of the 2011 Eddie Robinson Award and a two-time winner
"I thought in every respect it was a first-class event. I thought the student-athletes gave excellent acceptance speeches. I thought the meal was superior. A very enjoyable experience was the best way to describe it.

"I think when you see all the great football coaches that have been honored down through the years it's very humbling to think you would be the only guy to win it twice. I think with any football coach, when you go into it, that's not a goal. The goal is to win. The goal is not to be coach of the year. But it's still quite an honor; I do not take it lightly."

Gary Reasons, master of ceremony for the FCS Awards Banquet and a 1996 inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame
"The annual FCS Awards Banquet is a tremendous event that recognizes athletic excellence among FCS student-athletes and coaches. The four awards for most outstanding player (Walter Payton Award), most outstanding defensive player (Buck Buchannan Award), most outstanding coach (Eddie Robinson Award), and most outstanding freshman (Jerry Rice Award) are uniquely representative of the high quality student-athletes who compete each year at the Football Championship Subdivision level. As a former FCS athlete, I applaud The Sports Network on their 25-year history supporting the FCS and making the FCS Awards Banquet a very prestigious event. I congratulate Mickey Charles and his entire Sports Network staff, along with the event's principal sponsor, Fathead.com, for the event's success and the recognition it brings to much deserved FCS athletes and coaches."

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso
"We commend The Sports Network for recognizing student-athletes for their accomplishments. We wish The Sports Network continued growth and success as it hosts a memorable event that, undoubtedly, will impact the lives of its award recipients for many years to come."

University of New Hampshire head football coach Sean McDonnell, the 2005 Eddie Robinson Award recipient
"Terrific banquet; extremely well done. A great opportunity for the whole country to see four class individuals get awards, but, more importantly, how it was done. Mrs. Buchanan was there, Walter Payton's mom was there and especially Jerry Rice, it demonstrates that our level of football is catching up with the rest of the country. I think it's awesome."

Duer Sharp, Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner
"I commend The Sports Network and its sponsors on a first-class event. The namesakes of the four national FCS awards represent a great heritage of football in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and this annual event only serves to uplift that proud heritage. Congratulations and thanks from the SWAC."

Deborah Newsome, Special Events Manager Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Greater Dallas Chapter
"It was obvious that a lot of effort and hard work went into the evening. It is so exciting to see those young men honored in their field."

Don Dyen, artist for the FCS Awards
"The last time I was there was at the (Trump) Plaza (in New York). To see how much bigger it's gotten, and to see Mrs. Payton and Georgia (Buchanan) and Jerry Rice ... to meet somebody that you actually painted their picture, this was overwhelming. I just had a great time."

Willie Totten, former Mississippi Valley State University quarterback
"Being my first time coming to the awards presentation, I thought it was very first class, I thought it was outstanding. Being in the presence of the great names that are selected for the names of the awards, I thought that was outstanding. It gives the FCS players something to look forward to and be part of a great, great weekend."

Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Patriot League commissioner
"The awards reception and dinner is a special event for these young men, their coaches and administrators, and the event continues to improve in its presentation and stature."

Susan Dyen, FCS Awards Banquet attendee
"I thought it was a wonderful experience. I've been here years ago and I can't believe how much bigger it's gotten. What I really liked is I used to teach in a local high school and to see how kids from not No. 1 schools go on and play football in the pros or to be honored with such awards was just absolutely amazing to me."

Kay Matthews, FCS Awards Banquet attendee
"The banquet was even better than first class."



COMMENTS ABOUT CUSTOM FATHEADS

2011 Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell of Eastern Washington University
"Seeing the Fathead was awesome. I saw J.C.'s (2010 Buck Buchanan Award winner J.C. Sherritt) last year and it was just kind of like, wow, I bet he felt amazing to be able to see that, have his own Fathead himself. That's something you always kind of dream of is buying a Fathead of some famous player that you love. To be able to see one of myself was, obviously, amazing and really a dream come true."

2011 Walter Payton Award finalist Chris Lum of Lehigh University
"It was cool to see. I've never seen anything like that. I wasn't expecting that at all. They gave me one, which was even cooler. I'll hang that up in my bedroom. That was really a nice treat."

2011 Walter Payton Award runner-up Shakir Bell of Indiana State University
"Seeing that (Fathead of himself), it felt official. I felt like I was an NFL player or something like that."

2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient Matt Evans of the University of New Hampshire
"It was awesome being able to look at that (Fathead) and to stand right next to it was really cool. It's certainly something I'll find a place to hang up somewhere important in the house."

2011 Jerry Rice Award recipient Terrance West of Towson University
"The Fathead was amazing. To see yourself on the wall as a Fathead blown up like that, man, that's amazing."

2011 Eddie Robinson Award recipient Rob Ambrose of Towson University
"It is cool (the Fathead), to be honest. It makes you feel a little bit younger. When you look at those big things, those things that kids usually look at, it's just cool to be associated with something like that."


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2011 Bo Levi Mitchell Votes 2011 Winners
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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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