CHICAGO – Eastern Illinois senior wide receiver Alexander Hollins finished 21st in the voting for the 2018 Walter Payton FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award as the top three finalists were announced on Monday along with the voting order for the remaining top 25 candidates.
Hollins finished the season ranked in the top 15 in the nation in touchdown receptions, receptions and receiving yards as he was the Panthers top offensive threat during the year. He ended the season with 80 catches for 1,102 yards and 16 touchdowns. All three totals ranked Hollins the EIU single season top ten for each of those categories.
Hollins became the sixth EIU players to finish as a finalist for the award. Former quarterbacks Tony Romo (2002) and Jimmy Garoppolo (2013) won the award as multiple time finalists. Erik Lora was a two-time finalist finishing fourth in 2012 in voting. Willie High, a Mattoon graduate, was 15th in the voting in 1994 while Tim Lance was third in voting for the award in 1990 as a defensive back when the award was then presented to the top overall player in the FCS.
Three quarterbacks who have been at the top of their games as seniors are in contention for the Heisman of the FCS level.
Kennesaw State’s Chandler Burks, Samford’s Devlin Hodges and North Dakota State’s Easton Stick were invited on Monday to the announcement of the 2018 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, given to the outstanding offensive player in college football’s Division I subdivision.
The Payton, named for the legendary College and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back and presented since 1987, will be handed out at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game. Past recipients include Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, John Friesz, Dave Dickenson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and two-time winners Armanti Edwards and Jeremiah Briscoe.
A national panel of 153 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Walter Payton Award following the regular season. Voters selected a Top 5 on their ballot.