=== Adrian Peterson captures Walter Payton Award ===|
New York, NY (TSN) - Georgia Southern fullback Adrian Peterson
was named the 13th winner of the Walter Payton Award today at the
FCS College Football Awards ceremony held at Mickey Mantle's
Restaurant in New York.
Peterson is the first sophomore to win the Payton Award which is
presented annually by The Sports Network to the most outstanding
player in FCS college football. In 11 regular season games
in 1999, Peterson rushed for 1,807 yards. He led FCS in
touchdowns with 29, and scoring with 174 points.
"I feel very honored to have been chosen to win this award,
particularly this year in (Payton's) memory," said Peterson about
winning the award. "It is also a tribute and an honor for my
teammates, especially the offensive line and my good friend Greg Hill.
He makes great decisions, spreads out the defense and makes my job so
much easier. I sincerely believe it is a team award, and I accept it
on their behalf."
Peterson, an Alachua, Florida native, has played in 22 games
during his two-year collegiate career, and amazingly, he has rushed
for over 100 yards in all of them. Not only can defenses not stop him,
they cannot even hope to contain him. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound
fullback averaged 164.27 yards per game and an astonishing 7.3 yards
per carry. He rushed for over 200 yards in a game three times this
season, and earned three Southern Conference offensive Player-of-the-
Perhaps even more impressive than the yardage totals are
Peterson's scoring numbers. For his career, Peterson has already
recorded 55 touchdowns in 22 regular season games, which averages out
to 2.5 touchdowns per game.
"It's certainly a well-deserved honor, and I am extremely happy
for him," said Georgia Southern head coach Paul Johnson. "In my 18
years of coaching at many levels, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a
better player. As good as a football player as he is, Adrian is a
tremendous person first and foremost. That is what makes it, perhaps,
even more special."
Peterson plays the fullback position on one of the most
productive offenses in the nation. His running, along with the stellar
play of option quarterback Greg Hill, helped the Eagles to lead the
division in total offense (551.7 ypg), rushing offense (419.0 ypg) and
scoring offense (50.0 ppg).
Peterson is just the second underclassman to win the award,
joining former Weber State quarterback Jamie Martin who won it as a
junior in 1991. Peterson is the sixth running back to win the Payton
Award and the second player from the Southern Conference.
Peterson received 22 first-place votes and 209 points from the
panel of 75 FCS media and sports information directors.
Following Peterson in the voting were Hofstra quarterback Giovanni
Carmazzi, Cal State Sacramento running back Charles Roberts, Montana
quarterback Drew Miller and Portland State quarterback Jimmy
Blanchard. The Payton Award was established in 1987 by The Sports
Previous winners of the Payton Award are: 1998 - Jerry Azumah,
New Hampshire; 1997 - Brian Finneran, Villanova; 1996 - Archie
Amerson, Northern Arizona; 1995 - Dave Dickenson, Montana; 1994 -
Steve McNair, Alcorn State; 1993 - Doug Nussmeier, Idaho; 1992 -
Michael Payton, Marshall; 1991 - Jamie Martin, Weber State; 1990 -
Walter Dean, Grambling State; 1989 - John Friesz, Idaho; 1988 - Dave
Meggett, Towson; 1987 - Kenny Gamble, Colgate.