PHILADELPHIA -- Princeton senior quarterback Quinn Epperly, the reigning Asa S. Bushnell Cup recipient as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, was named to the first Watch List for the 2014 Walter Payton Award, which honors the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Player of the Year.
The honor is presented by The Sports Network, which unveiled its 20-man Watch List Monday. Epperly placed 10th in the Payton Award voting last year following his record-setting season leading Princeton to its 10th Ivy League championship.
Epperly, who was also named a Preseason Third-Team All-America by Beyond Sports Network, is coming off a historic junior season, when he threw for 25 touchdowns and rushed for 19 more while leading the Tigers to their first Ivy title since 2006. Epperly will be looking to lead Princeton to back-to-back Ivy League championships for the first time in 50 years, and he returns multiple All-Ivy starters on offense, including three seniors in offensive lineman Spenser Huston, wideouts Seth DeValve and Connor Kelley, and junior running back Di Andre Atwater.
Epperly already ranks eighth all-time in total offense at Princeton (3,975 yards), and if he matches his total from last season, he would rank second only to Doug Butler. He ranks ninth at Princeton in career passing yards (2,876), and he would move to third on that list if he matched his 2013 total.
Epperly placed 10th in the national voting last year (48 points), including six second-place votes and 21 overall in the Top 5. He is one of six players on the 2014 Watch List to have placed in the Top 10 in the 2013 voting. The others are Eastern Washington junior Vernon Adams, who was the runner-up to winner Jimmy Garoppolo, Fordham senior Michael Nebrich (fifth), Southeastern Louisiana senior Bryan Bennett (eighth) and Villanova junior John Robertson (ninth).
Past winners of the Payton include Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Brian Finneran and Garoppolo, this year's second-round draft choice of the New England Patriots.
The Walter Payton Award Watch List can undergo revision during
the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over
150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters,
writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top
three vote-getters will be invited to the presentation of the
The 28th Walter Payton Award, along with the Buck Buchanan (FCS Defensive Player of the Year), Jerry Rice (FCS Freshman of the Year) and Eddie Robinson (FCS Coach of the Year) awards will be presented at The Sports Network National Awards Banquet on Monday, Dec. 15.