Rhode Island senior wide receiver Aaron Parker, Towson senior quarterback Tom Flacco and Towson senior running back Shane Simpson were chosen to the 2019 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List.
STATS recognized 25 players from 13 different conferences on the preseason Watch List for the prestigious Payton Award, given to the top FCS offensive player.
Parker caught 61 passes for a CAA-best 955 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018. The first-team all-conference honoree became just the seventh player in school history with at least 10 TD receptions in a season and his yardage total was the sixth-most in a season at URI. He enters 2019 with 2,219 receiving yards, which ranks seventh on the Rams’ career chart.
Flacco finished fifth in the voting for the Payton Award last season after earning CAA Offensive Player of the Year accolades. The Tigers’ quarterback passed for a league-high 3,251 yards and 28 TD’s and also ran for 742 yards and 4 TD’s. He ranked third in FCS in total offense (332.8 ypg), fifth in passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns. Flacco threw for over 300 yards in six games and rushed for over 100 yards twice.
Simpson received All-CAA honors as a running back, kick returner and punt returner last season while also being named CAA Special Teams Player of the Year. A first-team All-America honoree, the senior ranked second in FCS in all-purpose yardage (171.5 ypg). The multi-talented Simpson rushed for 711 yards and 6 TD’s, caught 39 passes for 356 yards and 5 TD’s and returned 37 kickoffs for 887 yards (24.0 avg) and a TD.
Prior to the 2020 FCS National Championship game on Jan. 11, the winner will be selected according to a vote from a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers, and other dignitaries.