Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe became the second-ever repeat winner of the FCS Walter Payton Award when he was announced the 2017-18 recipient at Friday night's STATS FCS Awards Banquet in Frisco, Texas.
The Payton Award has been given annually to the nation's most outstanding offensive player in the FCS for the last 31 years. Briscoe edged out finalists Chris Streveler (South Dakota quarterback) and Keelan Doss (UC Davis wide receiver) for the award.
Briscoe finished his senior season with a nation-best 5,003 passing yards and 45 touchdowns for the 12-2 Bearkats, who advanced to this year's FCS semifinals. He fell just 73 passing yards short of setting an FCS single-season record.
The Houston native was also named 2017 FCS ADA Offensive Player of the Year and a second-team AP All-American since the end of regular season play. His back-to-back Payton Award wins put him in the company of former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards as the only two-time recipients.
JSU's Jackson wins Buck Buchanan Award
Jacksonville State defensive end Darius Jackson was awarded the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the most outstanding FCS defensive player. Jackson had 55 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles this year. The redshirt senior, also named a first-team AP All American and the OVC defensive player of the year, is the first Gamecock to take home the Buchanan Award.
The other two finalists for the Buchanan Award were James Madison defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah and Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor.
Healy, Armstrong, Wieneke round out award winners
The final three individual awards handed out at Friday's banquet all were announced ahead of time. Austin Peay coach Will Healy won the Eddie Robinson Award for national coach of the year, Kennesaw State linebacker Bryson Armstrong earned the Jerry Rice Award for top freshman and South Dakota State wide receiver Jake Wieneke took home the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award.
Healy, in his second season at the helm, took home the hardware for leading a tremendous turnaround season for the Govs. Austin Peay entered 2017 on a nation-leading 27-game losing streak and had the streak expand to 29 before the Govs defeated Morehead State in an emotional Week 3 victory. Austin Peay finished with eight wins, tying a school record.
Armstrong finished his freshman campaign with a team-leading 114 tackles to go along with three interceptions and four fumble recoveries. His 11 sacks on the year led the Big South and helped drive Kennesaw State to its first-ever postseason appearance. Armstrong is the first defensive player to win the Rice Award, which has been handed out to the top freshman for the last seven years.
Wieneke was one of the FCS' premier wide receivers this year, capping his SDSU career with 65 catches and 16 touchdowns en route to his third All-American selection. In the classroom, the physical education and teacher education major had a 3.62 GPA.
According to STATS FCS, a panel of more than 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries vote on the Payton, Buchanan, Eddie Robinson and Rice awards. The Doris Robinson Award is determined by nominations made by the 13 FCS conferences.