PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Sports Network) - An updated list of 32 players has been established by The Sports Network, I-AA college football's most widely recognized information service, indicating the current and official "Payton Watch" and "Buchanan Battle" members. The "Payton Watch" and "Buchanan Battle" pages, which can be found at The Sports Network's website (www.sportsnetwork.com) keep track of the quest for the 19th Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in I-AA football, and the 11th Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in I-AA. The honors will be presented at the 19th annual I-AA College Football Awards on Thursday, December 15th in Chattanooga, TN, on the eve of the 2005 I-AA National Championship. The Eddie Robinson Award, honoring I-AA's top coach, and the Sports Network Cup, bestowed upon the nation's best I-AA mid-major program, will also be presented on Dec. 15th.
Four new players grace the updated "Payton Watch" list, and six revisions have been made to the "Buchanan Battle" list. On the Payton Watch, running backs Omar Cuff (Delaware), Joe Rubin (Portland State) and Steve Silva (Holy Cross) and Texas State quarterback Barrick Nealy have been selected as potential candidates. For the Buchanan, defensive ends Jeff Charleston (Idaho State), Brent Hawkins (Illinois State) and Marques Murrell (Appalachian State) and linebackers Zak DeOssie (Brown), Brian Hulea (Villanova) and Chad Nkang (Elon) have been added to the list.
The official "Payton Watch" and "Buchanan Battle" lists will undergo two additional revisions prior to the distribution of ballots on November 21st. The next change will be made on November 2nd, and the final changes will be made just prior to the distribution of ballots. The ballots will be mailed electronically to the media and I-AA sports information directors selected for the voting process on November 21st, and will be due Wednesday, November 23rd. The top three finalists (in terms of votes received) for the Walter Payton Award will be invited to attend the presentation in Chattanooga, TN, with the winner of that Award not announced until the event.
Following are the 32 current members of both the "Payton Watch", with additional information on each player, as well as history and facts about each of the I-AA awards, available at www.sportsnetwork.com.
"Payton Watch" Candidates (Oct, 12)
Jermaine Austin, RB, Georgia Southern
David Ball, WR, New Hampshire
*Omar Cuff, RB, Delaware
Clifton Dawson, RB, Harvard
Bruce Eugene, QB, Grambling State
Nick Hartigan, RB, Brown
Lex Hilliard, RB, Montana
Travis Lulay, QB, Montana State
Ingle Martin, QB, Furman
Erik Meyer, QB, Eastern Washington
*Barrick Nealy, QB, Texas State
*Joe Rubin, RB, Portland State
Joel Sambursky, QB, Southern Illinois
Ricky Santos, QB, New Hampshire
*Steve Silva, RB, Holy Cross
Richie Williams, QB, Appalachian State