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Jennings Finishes Eighth In Payton Voting

December 2, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Rashad Jennings, who has been on the Walter Payton Award watch list the entire season, has finished eighth in the final voting for the 22nd Walter Payton Award.

Rashad Jennings, who has been on the Walter Payton Award watch list the entire season, has finished eighth in the final voting for the 22nd Walter Payton Award.

Official Sports Network Release

Rashad Jennings, who has been on the Walter Payton Award watch list the entire season, has finished eighth in the final voting for the 22nd Walter Payton Award, as announced by the Sports Network yesterday.

Jennings (Sr., RB, Forest, Va.) garnered 59 points in the voting for the nation's top FCS player, including one first-place vote, three votes for second place, five for third and nine for fourth and fifth.

Western Illinois running back Herb Donaldson, Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards and James Madison quarterback Rodney Landers were named the top three vote getters in this year's listing.

The trio of finalists will be honored at the Sports Network's annual awards banquet on Dec. 18 in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the evening before the FCS National Championship game. During the evening's festivities, the Sports Network will name the winner of this year's Walter Payton Award, along with the Eddie Robison and Buck Buchanan awards.

The Buck Buchanan award is handed out to the nation's best FCS defensive player, while the Eddie Robison award is bestowed upon the nation's top FCS head coach. Flames head coach Danny Rocco is among the 16 candidates currently being considered for this year's head coaching honor.

Besides the three finalists, finishing ahead of Jennings were Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden, Central Arkansas quarterback Nathan Brown, Weber State quarterback Cameron Higgins and San Diego wide receiver John Matthews.

Jennings is the second player in Big South history to garner final consideration for the Walter Payton Award. In 2006, Coastal Carolina quarterback Tyler Thipgen finished seventh in the voting with 77 votes.

For the second year in a row, Jennings was tabbed the Big South's Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in conference history to do so in consecutive seasons.

Jennings seemingly continued to rewrite both Liberty's and the Big South's record books each time he took to the field this season. The senior rushed for a program and league best 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008, while setting a new scoring record with 114 points.

The running back ended the regular season ranked No. 5 nationally in rushing yards per game (136.36), tied for fifth in scoring (10.36 points per game) and No. 16 in all-purpose yards (153.64 per game).

2008 Walter Payton Award Voting (Top three in alphabetical order)
Name (School)...........................1st..2nd..3rd..4th..5th...Total
Herb Donaldson (Western Illinois)
Armanti Edwards (Appalachian State)
Rodney Landers (James Madison)
Ramses Barden (Cal Poly).................4..8..11..15..12...127
Nathan Brown (Central Arkansas)..........1..7..6..9..18...89
Cameron Higgins (Weber State)............3..8..3..7..9...79
John Matthews (San Diego)................2..6..6..6..4...70
Rashad Jennings (Liberty)................1..3..5..9..9...59
Dominic Randolph (Holy Cross)............2..2..7..1..4...47
Larry Warner (Southern Illinois).........1..4..1..3..7...37
Chris Pizzotti (Harvard).................1..2..4..3..2...33
William Ford (South Carolina State)......1..3..0..4..4...29
Andre Roberts (The Citadel)..............2..0..0..6..4...26
Rhett Bomar (Sam Houston State)..........0..0..5..2..4...23
Terrell Hudgins (Elon)...................0..0..4..2..4...20
David Sinisi (Monmouth)..................0..1..1..1..4...13
*Jonathan Dally (Cal Poly)...............0..1..1..0..0...7
*Josh Vaughan (Richmond).................0..1..0..1..0...6
*write-in votes