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Originally published: 2009-11-30 23:49:29
Last modified: 2009-11-30 23:50:25

Edwards a Payton Award finalist

by Staff Reports

PHILADELPHIA - Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards is one of the final three candidates for the 2009 Walter Payton Award, The Sports Network announced on Monday.
Edwards will be joined by Elon wide receiver Terrell Hudgins and Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim for the 2009 Payton Award announcement on Dec. 17 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Edwards, who won the 2008 Payton Award in a landslide, is looking to become the first two-time winner in the 23-year history of the award that honors the nation's top NCAA Division I FCS player.
In nine regular-season games (he missed the season opener at East Carolina and the finale versus Western Carolina due to injury), Edwards accounted for 3,079 yards of offense (2,504 passing, 575 rushing) and 26 touchdowns (10 passing, 16 rushing). He ranked among the nation's top 15 in eight statistical categories, including completion percentage (2nd - .724), scoring (2nd - 10.7 ppg), rushing touchdowns (t-2nd - 16), total offense (3rd - 342.1 ypg) and passing efficiency (5th - 163.35 passer rating).
The 2009 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year threw for 300 or more yards four times in nine games and amassed at least 400 yards of total offense three times.
The senior from Greenwood, S.C. engineered an ASU offense that ranked among the nation's top 10 in scoring, rushing, passing efficiency and total offense while becoming the first starting quarterback in the 77-year history of the SoCon to lead his team to four league championships.
In the process, Edwards became the first player in NCAA Division I history (FCS or FBS) to pass for 9,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in a career with a 461-yard effort in Appalachian's 52-27 win at Furman on Oct. 31. In the previous week's 52-16 win over Georgia Southern, he became the first FCS player to amass 8,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards.
Voting for the Payton, Buck Buchanan (top FCS defensive player) and Eddie Robinson (top FCS coach) awards was conducted last week among national FCS media and sports information directors. ASU defensive back Mark LeGree was one of 20 players on the Buchanan Award ballot and head coach Jerry Moore was among the 20 names on the ballot for the Robinson Award.
The Sports Network does not announce top-three finalists for the Buchanan and Robinson awards. The winners are unveiled along with the Payton Award honoree on Dec. 17 in a ceremony at the Chattanooga Marriott.