EIU's Garoppolo Invited To Announcement of Walter Payton Award

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Published on December 4 2013 2:43 pm
Last Updated on December 4 2013 2:43 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Each began the season leading his FCS team to an impressive victory over FBS competition.

And not one took his foot off the pedal.

Quarterbacks Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington and Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and running back Terrance West of Towson were the best at what they do during the regular season. All three have been invited to the announcement of the 27th Walter Payton Award, bestowed on the outstanding player in the FCS and considered the Heisman Trophy of the former Division I-AA level.

The winner will be announced at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation on Dec. 16 in Philadelphia. The winners of the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) also will be feted that night.

Awards voting is based on the regular season.

Garoppolo becomes the third Eastern Illinois player that will finish among the top three in the nation in the Payton Award.  Tony Romo won the award in 2002 while Tim Lance placed third in voting in 1990 as a defensive back.

The talents of Adams, Garoppolo and West are undeniable, and the statistics of the three have been otherworldly. Beginning with Eastern Washington beating Oregon State, Eastern Illinois topping San Diego State and Towson stopping Connecticut in the opening week of the season, the Payton Award finalists have commanded center stage.