SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges and Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams were among the 25 student-athletes nationwide on the preseason watch list for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, STATS announced Wednesday.
The Payton Award, first presented in 1987, has watched past winners such as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, John Friesz, Brian Finneran, Jimmy Garoppolo and Cooper Kupp move on to the NFL.
The watch list will have updates during the season. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the winner following the regular season.
Hodges, the two-time Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, finished fourth in the voting for the Payton Award as a junior in 2017. The fourth-place finish was the highest any Samford player has ever finished.
Last season, Hodges passed for 3,983 yards and 31 touchdowns. He completed 65.7 percent of his passes (347-of-528) and averaged 331.9 passing yards per game. Hodges led the Southern Conference and ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing yards per game, total offense per game and total offensive plays.
Entering his senior season, Hodges already owns 21 Samford records. He has a chance to break several SoCon and national FCS records, as well. He has passed for 10,301 career yards, with the SoCon record being 13,264 by Scott Riddle of Elon, and the FCS record set at 14,496 by Steve McNair of Alcorn State. He has completed 922 passes, and the SoCon record is 1,168 by Riddle, with the FCS record standing at 1,184 by Jeremy Moses of Stephen F. Austin.
Adams is the third Catamount to grace the initial watch list for the Walter Payton Award in recent years, joining former tailback Detrez Newsome a season ago and former quarterback Troy Mitchell, who made the preseason list prior to the 2015 season. The 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, Adams was also a finalist for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, finishing fourth in the national voting that year.
Adams is coming off a 2017 season that saw him eclipse 3,000 yards in total offense, becoming just the second Catamount to do so all-time (Mitchell – 3,096 in 2014). The dual-threat QB rushed for a career-high 746 yards, adding 2,294 yards and a WCU single-season record 22 passing touchdowns. Adams piloted an offensive unit that scored a school-record 389 points, more than the 1983 national runner-up squad (370 over 15 games). WCU averaged a benchmark-setting 32.4 points per game to supplant the mark set by the 1969 Catamounts at 32.1 (321 over 10 games).
After two seasons at the helm of the high-powered Catamount offense, Adams has already amassed 5,966 yards of total offense – third on the school’s career charts and less than 3,500 yards shy of the all-time school record held by former mentor Mitchell (9,397 yards, 2012-15). Adams has rushed for 1,104 yards and three TDs since 2016 while throwing for a combined 4,862 yards – eighth in school history – on 406 completions (sixth) with 37 career touchdowns (fourth).
For STATS’ complete release, click here.