Among the 20 players selected to the Walter Payton Award watch list, 12 are returning finalists from 2011.

The award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision by The Sports Network, which released the watch list on Thursday. Among the finalists from a year ago who return for another shot at the award are: Shakir Bell (Indiana State), Eric Breitenstein (Wofford), Casey Brockman (Murray State), Jordan Brown (Bryant), Jamaine Cook (Youngstown State), Timothy Flanders (Sam Houston State), DeNarius McGhee (Montana State), Aaron Mellette (Elon), Andrew Pierce (Delaware), Rodrick Rumble (Idaho State), Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah) and Terrance West (Towson). 

McGhee is already a two-time finalist for the top FCS award. He finished in the top 10 as a redshirt-freshman and was in the top 15 as a sophomore last year.

Two teams have two players each on the initial watch list. The 2011 national runner-up, Sam Houston State is represented by Flanders and Richard Sincere while Youngstown State boasts Jamaine Cook and Kurt Hess. 

Half of the field is made up of running backs, including the lone fullback Eric Breitenstein of Wofford, while six quarterbacks are also in the mix with three receivers. Sincere is the only all-purpose runner in the initial group after splitting time last season at wide receiver and running back.  

The award is one of three major FCS player awards given out each year by The Sports Network. A defensive player of the year (Buck Buchanan Award) and freshman of the year (Jerry Rice Award) will be handed out at the end of the season as well, along with the Eddie Robinson Award for the coach of the year.  

2012 WALTER PAYTON AWARD SUMMER WATCH LIST
POS PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR
RB Zach Bauman Northern Arizona Junior
RB Shakir Bell Indiana State Junior
FB Eric Breitenstein Wofford Senior
QB Casey Brockman Murray State Senior
RB Jordan Brown Bryant Senior
RB Jamaine Cook Youngstown State Senior
RB Matt Denham Eastern Kentucky Senior
RB Timothy Flanders Sam Houston State Junior
QB Taylor Heineke Old Dominion Sophomore
QB Kurt Hess Youngstown State Junior
QB Jeff Mathews Cornell Junior
RB Miguel Maysohet Stony Brook Senior
QB Denarius McGhee Montana State Junior
WR Aaron Mellette Elon Senior
RB Andrew Pierce Delaware Junior
WR Rodrick Rumble Idaho State Junior
AP Richard Sincere Sam Houston State Junior
QB Brad Sorenson Southern Utah Senior
WR Ryan Spadola Lehigh Senior
RB Terrance West Towson Sophomore