Cal Poly sophomore running back James Noble and senior linebacker Kyle Shotwell are on an updated list of 32 players by The Sports Network, Division I-AA college football’s most widely recognized information service, indicating the current and official “Payton Watch” and “Buchanan Battle” members.
The “Payton Watch” and “Buchanan Battle” pages, which can be found at The Sports Network’s website (www.sportsnetwork.com), keep track of the quest for the 20th Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in I-AA football, and the 12th Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in I-AA.
The honors will be presented at the 20th annual I-AA College Football Awards on Dec. 14 in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the eve of the 2006 I-AA National Championship game.
The Eddie Robinson Award, honoring I-AA’s top coach, and the Sports Network Cup, bestowed upon the nation’s best I-AA mid-major program, will also be presented Dec. 14.
Four new players grace the updated “Payton Watch” and “Buchanan Battle” lists.
On the Payton Watch, four quarterbacks have been selected as potential candidates. Josh Johnson (San Diego), Jason Murrietta (Northern Arizona), Tyler Thigpen (Coastal Carolina) and Steve Walker (North Dakota State) all join the watch list.
Noble has rushed for 501 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He has surpassed the 100-yard mark four times this season.
For the Buchanan, defensive end Bryan Smith (McNeese State), linebackers Adam Hayward (Portland State) and Markeseo Jackson (Tennessee-Martin) and defensive back James Ihedigbo (Massachusetts) have all been selected as potential candidates.
Shotwell leads the Great West Football Conference in total tackles with 63, including 10 tackles for lost yardage. He is credited with a pair of sacks and two pass breakups.
The official “Payton Watch” and “Buchanan Battle” lists will undergo two additional revisions prior to the distribution of ballots Nov. 20. The next change will be made Nov. 1 and the final changes will be made just prior to the distribution of ballots.
The ballots will be mailed electronically to the media and I-AA sports information directors selected for the voting process Nov. 20, and will be due Nov. 22.
The top three finalists in terms of votes received for the Walter Payton Award will be invited to attend the presentation in Chattanooga, Tenn., with the winner of that award not announced until the event.