HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) -- After a successful awards season last year, the Sam Houston State football team is once again off to a good start in 2017. A day after earning the No. 6 seed in the FCS playoffs, the Bearkats have placed two familiar names on the final ballot for the top awards in the country.
Jeremiah Briscoe has been named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award for the second straight year, after winning the award last year. P. J. Hall is a three-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award after finishing as the 2016 runner up.
“Anytime you can have your name mentioned for a postseason award is a great honor,” said head coach K. C. Keeler. “But when you look at the two awards they are nominated for, the Walter Payton Award and the Buck Buchanan Award, the prize for the top offensive and defensive players in the county is special.”
Briscoe once again leads the country in passing, with 3,893 yards and 37 touchdowns. His average of 353.9 yards per game is also the highest in the country. Add in his three rushing touchdowns and he is tops in the country with 240 points responsible for as well.
“I’ve said this before, but I’m blessed to play with the three best wide-receivers in the country,” Briscoe said after Saturday’s win over HBU. “They are so unselfish and make my job as a quarterback so much easier.”
Hall, who finished second the voting for the Buchanan Award last season is back on the ballot for the third straight season. It is also his fourth year as a finalist for a national player of the year award, finishing third in the voting for the Jerry Rice Award in 2014, given to the top freshman in the nation.
Hall moved away from his traditional defensive end position this year and played a good portion of the season on the inside of the line. Despite that, he is eighth in the nation in tackles for a loss with 15 and against Abilene Christian he collected the 81st TFL of his career which is the most in FCS history. Hall also has four blacked kicks this season which is tops in the country and his 14 career blocked kicks is a new Sam Houston record.
“Really, that’s just all about effort,” Hall said on Saturday about his kick block record. “It’s just about not taking a play off. You will see that from other teams sometimes where they will take those plays off. You just never know at the end of the game that could end up being a big play.”
All four awards (Payton, Buchanan, Eddie Robinson coach and Rice) and the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be celebrated at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation, scheduled for Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the national championship game.
The voting panel consists of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. Voting is based on the regular season.