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Stan Becton | | December 6, 2022

Every finalist for the Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan and Jerry Rice Awards

2022 FCS bracket predictions: Every playoff game picked, through the national championship

The 2022 FCS Award finalists have been named, with players making the final cut for the Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan and Jerry Rice Awards. The winners for the Payton and Buchanan awards will be announced on Jan. 7 and the winner for the Rice award will be announced on Dec. 7.

FCS PLAYOFFS: Predictions, picks for every FCS playoff game and round

Let's get into the finalists.

Walter Payton Award Finalists

Update Dec. 5: Fordham's Tim DeMorat, UIW's Lindsey Scott Jr and Monmouth's Jaden Shirden are the top three finalists for the 2022 Walter Payton Award. 

Thirty finalists were named for the 2022 Walter Payton Award, an award presented to the best offensive player in the FCS.

Some notable names include quarterbacks Tim DeMorat and Lindsey Scott Jr., the two most prolific passers during the 2022 season. In the backfield, Jaleel McLaughlin is the all-time rushing leader in FCS history, while Hunter Luepke looks to become the first fullback to ever win the award. 

MORE: Walter Payton Award history

See the full list of finalists below.

Walter Payton Award Finalists

  • QB Tim DeMorat | Fordham
  • QB Cole Doyle | Saint Francis (PA)
  • QB Bailey Fisher | Gardner Webb
  • QB Michael Hiers | Samford
  • QB Parker McKinney | Eastern Kentucky
  • QB Tommy Mellott | Montana State
  • QB Davius Richard | North Carolina Central
  • QB Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State
  • QB Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW
  • QB Matthew Sluka | Holy Cross
  • QB Reece Udinski | Richmond
  • RB Aidan Borguet | Harvard
  • RB Jake Chisholm | Dayton
  • RB Ailym Ford | Chattanooga
  • RB Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. | UC Davis
  • RB Geno Hess | Southeast Missouri State
  • RB Hunter Luepke | North Dakota State
  • RB Jaleel McLaughlin | Youngstown State
  • RB Deonta McMahon | McNeese
  • RB ShunDerrick Powell | North Alabama
  • RB Jaden Shirden | Monmouth
  • RB Cameron Skattebo | Sacramento State
  • RB Bhayshul Tuten | North Carolina A&T
  • WR Xavier Gipson | Stephen F. Austin
  • WR Devron Harper Jr. | Mercer
  • WR Joey Hobert | Utah Tech
  • WR Andrei Iosivas | Princeton
  • WR Fotis Kokosioulis | Fordham
  • WR Xavier Smith | Florida A&M
  • OL Cody Mauch | North Dakota State

Buck Buchanan Award Finalists

Update Dec. 6: William & Mary's John Pius, Illinois State's Zeke Vandenburgh and Central Arkansas' David Walker are the top three finalists for the 2022 Buck Buchanan Award. 

Thirty finalists were named for the 2022 Buck Buchanan Award, an award presented to the best defensive player in the FCS.

Some notable names include Illinois State linebacker Zeke Vandenburgh, who leads the country in sacks, and Houston Christian linebacker Rodney Dansby, who leads the country in tackles. The linebacker group also features South Carolina State's BJ Davis and Jackson State's Aubrey Miller Jr., two of the best players from HBCUs this season.

MORE: Buck Buchanan Award history

See the full list of finalists below.

Buck Buchanan Award Finalists

  • DL Ty French | Gardner-Webb
  • DL Malik Hamm | Lafayette
  • DL Jake Heimlicher | Penn
  • DL Jay Person | Chattanooga
  • DL Caleb Sanders | South Dakota State
  • DL Spencer Waege | North Dakota State
  • DL David Walker | Central Arkansas
  • LB Joe Andreessen | Bryant
  • LB Kelechi Anyalebechi | UIW
  • LB Johnny Buchanan | Delaware
  • LB Rodney Dansby | Houston Christian
  • LB BJ Davis | South Carolina State
  • LB John Ford II | UT Martin
  • LB Kavian Gaither | Sam Houston
  • LB Ryan Greenhagen | Fordham
  • LB Aubrey Miller Jr. | Jackson State
  • LB Bryce Norman | Southeast Missouri State
  • LB John Pius | William & Mary
  • LB Winston Reid | Weber State
  • LB Stone Snyder | VMI
  • LB Chizi Umunakwe | Central Connecticut
  • LB Zeke Vandenburgh | Illinois State
  • LB Tristan Wheeler | Richmond
  • LB Antione Wiliams | Austin Peay
  • DB Khalil Baker | North Carolina Central
  • DB Luke Glenna | St. Thomas
  • DB Robby Hauck | Montana
  • DB Marcus Hillman | Elon
  • DB Alijah Huzzie | ETSU
  • DB Marte Mapu | Sacramento State

Jerry Rice Award Finalists

Twenty-five finalists were named for the 2022 Jerry Rice Award, an award presented to the best freshman in the FCS.

Some notable names include Idaho's quarterback Gevani McCoy, the only freshman signal-caller to lead his team to the postseason and WR Makai Jackson, an electrifying freshman that led Saint Francis (PA) to an NEC title. On the defensive side of the ball, LIU defensive lineman Eric O'Neill ranks in the top 10 nationally for sacks and tackles for loss. Then, there's also Jackson State wide receiver and cornerback Travis Hunter, the highest-ranked recruit in the history of the FCS.

MORE: Jerry Rice Award history

See the full list of finalists below.

Jerry Rice Award Finalists

  • QB Cade Chambers | Indiana State
  • QB Gevani McCoy | Idaho
  • QB Brady Meitz | Stetson
  • QB Reese Poffenbarger | Albany
  • QB Noah Walters | North Alabama
  • RB Ryan Butler | Princeton
  • RB Marquis Gillis | Delaware State
  • RB Ismail Mahdi | Houston Baptist
  • RB Joshua Pitsenberger | Yale
  • RB Sam Franklin | UT Martin
  • RB Desmond Reid | Western Carolina
  • RB Jerrell Wimbley | Stephen. F Austin
  • WR Seth Anderson | Charleston Southern
  • WR Makai Jackson | Saint Francis (PA)
  • WR/DB Travis Hunter | Jackson State
  • DL Finn Claypool | Drake
  • DL Eric O'Neill | LIU
  • LB Kohner Cullimore | Southern Utah
  • LB Mason Woods | Towson
  • DB Wedner Cadet | Georgetown
  • DB Rex Connors | UC Davis
  • DB Jalen Jones | William & Mary
  • DB Adrian Maddox | Alabama State
  • P Patrick Rohrbach | Montana

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