By Craig Haley, FCS Exec. Director - Archive - Email
Breitenstein, Heinicke, Maysonet invited to Payton announcement
The 2012 FCS Awards Ceremony takes place Dec. 17 in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Each could celebrate in one of his favorite ways, as if it's a normal Saturday afternoon in the fall.

Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein could jump into the arms of one of his offensive linemen, Tymeco Gregory - a constant across end zones in recent seasons.

Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke could exchange high-fives and hugs with Ron Whitcomb, his quarterbacks coach who always reminds his protege about his great success.

Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet could leap into the air for a chest bump with wide receiver Kevin Norrell - an image etched in Maysonet's head.

But Dec. 17 won't be an ordinary night for one of the three players, it will be cause for a season's worth, if not career's worth, of reflection. Breitenstein, Heinicke and Maysonet have been invited to the announcement of the 26th Walter Payton Award, which honors the outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

It would be hard for any of the three players not to consider himself a winner already, but the FCS version of the Heisman Trophy will go home with only one of them. They are the top three vote-getters among the 20 finalists who were on the ballot voted upon by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.

The trio will be joined at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel by the winners of the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year).

Breitenstein, Heinicke and Maysonet have put together glowing resumes this season.

Breitenstein, a 5-foot-10, 230-pound fifth-year senior from Valle Crucis, N.C., is the fuel in Wofford's triple option offense. He is the active leader in the FCS with 5,348 rushing yards and 62 touchdowns over his career.

This year, he has surpassed his own single-season school record with 1,653 rushing yards on 244 carries, including 16 touchdowns, and ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game (150.3). His 321 rushing yards against Elon on Sept. 29 set the SoCon single-game record.

Behind Breitenstein, the Terriers (8-3) earned a share of the Southern Conference championship as well as a berth in the FCS playoffs for the third straight season. They will host New Hampshire in a second-round game on Saturday.

"To be one of the three, it's outstanding, it really is," Breitenstein said. "I'm really proud just to get the honor, just to be mentioned with these guys.

"I keep saying this, but I feel like I'm a product of the system because all I've done is my job here. When you get the ball, you've got to be productive with it. That's really what I feel like I've done these past five years. Wofford's just given me an opportunity, and I think I've taken it and run with it a little bit."

Heinicke, a 6-1, 195-pound sophomore from Atlanta, commanded a 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.

He ranks No. 1 in the FCS with 4,158 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and 4,535 total yards. He also has rushed for 377 yards and eight touchdowns.

Old Dominion is 10-1 overall and posted the best record in CAA Football games at 7-1, but was ineligible for the conference championship because it will depart for the Bowl Subdivision after this season. The Monarchs gained their second straight playoff bid and will host Coastal Carolina in a second- round game on Saturday.

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

"I was fortunate enough to run a spread offense in high school my senior year. It's one of the main reasons I came here. I felt very comfortable with this offense."

Maysonet, a 5-10, 210-pound senior from Riverhead, N.Y., has strung together three tremendous seasons at Stony Brook despite sharing carries in the Seawolves' unique rotation, a system which is on pace to have two 1,000-yard backs for the third straight season.

Maysonet led the FCS in rushing yards per game during the regular season - 156.5. Add in Stony Brook's playoff win over Villanova last Saturday and he has totaled 1,881 rushing yards and 2,233 all-purpose yards, and scored 23 touchdowns. All three totals are school and Big South Conference records.

Having transferred to Stony Brook in 2010 after Hofstra dropped its football program, Maysonet has helped the Seawolves win a fourth straight conference title and reach the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season. They next visit Montana State on Saturday.

"It shows that we have a great O-line," Maysonet said. "When I'm out there, I'm just trying to do what the coaches ask of me, just do my job out there, gaining yards and doing positive plays for us.

"It's a humbling feeling to be in the running for such a prestigious award. I'm excited. It's definitely going to be a team award no matter who wins it because you can't go out there and do it alone ever."

There were 145 ballots cast in the Walter Payton Award voting. The results for No. 4-20 were as follows:

2012 Remaining Walter Payton Award Voting
 # Name School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
 4. Erik Lora Eastern Illinois 7 14 15 7 14 164
 5. Gavin McCarney Colgate 15 9 10 6 5 158
 6. Casey BrockmanMurray St. 8791612139
 7. Zach ZennerSouth Dakota St 48141412134
 8. Aaron MelletteElon 169111088
 9. DeNarius McGheeMontana St 3697787
 10. Jimmy GaroppoloE. Illinois35711684
 11. Wynrick SmothersC. Arkansas24951477
 12. Shakir BellIndiana St.1558157
 13. Timothy FlandersSam Houston St.2443553
 14. Jamal JacksonAppalachian St.1126633
 15. Brad SorensenSouthern Utah0314124
 16. Deonte WilliamsCal Poly0203822
 17. Zach BaumanN. Arizona1210319
 18. Terrance WestTowson 0013413
 19. Matt DenhamE. Kentucky001218
 20. Jamaine CookYoungstown State100027


Walter Payton Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 John Robertson Votes 2014 History
2013 Jimmy Garoppolo Votes 2013 Past
2012 Taylor Heinicke Votes 2012 Winners
Buck Buchanan Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Kyle Emanuel Votes 2014 History
2013 Brad Daly Votes 2013 Past
2012 Caleb Schreibeis Votes 2012 Winners
Eddie Robinson Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Sean McDonnell Votes 2014 History
2013 Craig Bohl Votes 2013 Past
2012 Craig Bohl Votes 2012 Winners
Jerry Rice Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Chase Edmonds Votes 2014 History
2013 Cooper Kupp Votes 2013 Past
2012 John Robertson Votes 2012 Winners
Mickey Charles Award
Year Winner Misc
2014 Zach Zenner History
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