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Brown and Summers on Walter Payton Watch List
Sports Network Preseason Walter Payton Award watch list
When Mike Brown throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Summers this season, the Liberty quarterback will be helping one of his main competitors in the race for the Walter Payton Award.
Earlier today, the Sports Network released the preseason watch list for the 2011 Walter Payton Award, the annual award handed out to the top FCS football player in the country. The award is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011.
Both Liberty's Brown and Summers were among the 20 listed players. Liberty was one of two programs with two players on the list, joining defending FCS national champion Eastern Washington. Brown was one of 11 quarterbacks on the list, while Summers was one of two wide receivers included in the preseason listing.
Brown was a mid-year addition to the list during the 2010 season. After leading the country in total offensive yards per game (346.36), the quarterback finished 11th in the final voting. Brown is one of six players returning from last year's Walter Payton Award watch list.
With the inclusion of Summers on this year's preseason watch list, Liberty has now had three players in program history be up for the award's consideration, all coming during the last four years.
Former standout running back Rashad Jennings, a current member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, became the first player in Liberty's program history to be named to the Walter Payton Award watch list as a senior in 2008. He would finish the year in eighth place in the final standings.
Brown, a two-time Big South Player of the Year, put up his best career numbers as a quarterback in 2010. He ranked No. 8 in the country in passing yards per game (268.73) and No. 7 in passing efficiency (149.63).
The Charlottesville, Va., native also ranked No. 4 in the country in points responsible for (17.45), as he threw for 23 touchdowns and rushed for nine more.
Summers rewrote Liberty's receiving records book in 2010, doing so in just 10 games. Late in Liberty's penultimate game against Coastal Carolina, the wide receiver suffered an injury that kept him from playing against Stony Brook the following weekend.
When he was on the field, the 6-4 player set new program single-season standards with 1,081 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native ranked No. 5 in the country in receiving yards per game (108.10) and No. 2 in total receiving touchdowns. Overall, the wide receiver finished the season ranked No. 8 in the country in scoring (9.00 points per game).
The Walter Payton Award watch list could undergo two revisions during the course of the 2011 regular season. Final ballots will be distributed for voting to more than 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season on Nov. 21.
The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan and Eddie Robinson Awards, which are sponsored by Fathead.
The Buck Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year and the Eddie Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year. Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco has been a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award the last three seasons.
Those two awards, like the Walter Payton Award, will be presented at the national awards banquet the night before the FCS national championship game on January 5 in Frisco, Texas.
2011 Walter Payton Preseason Award Watch List
Eric Breitenstean, FB, Wofford (2010 Watch List member)
Casey Brockman, QB, Murray State
Mike Brown, QB, Liberty (2010 Watch List member)
B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga
Jamaine Cook, RB, Youngstown State
Thomas DeMarco, QB, Old Dominion
Nate Eachus, RB, Colgate (2010 Watch List member)
Jonathan Grimes, RB, William & Mary
Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington
Mike Mayhew, RB, North Carolina A&T
DeNarius McGhee, QB, Montana State (2010 Watch List member)
Josh McGregor, QB, Jacksonville
D.J. McNorton, RB, North Dakota State
Bo Levi Mitchell, QB, Eastern Washington
Andrew Pierce, RB, Delaware
DeAndre Presley, QB, Appalachian State (2010 Watch List member)
Tirrell Rennie, QB, Northern Iowa
Brad Sorensen, QB, Southern Utah
Chris Summers, WR, Liberty
Casey Therriault, QB, Jackson State (2010 Watch List member)