McNeese’s Deonta McMahon named finalist for Walter Payton Award

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Deonta McMahon of McNeese

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese senior running back Deonta McMahon has been named one of 30 finalists for the 2022 Walter Payton Award, which is annually presented to the national offensive player of the year in college football’s Division I championship subdivision.

The Southland Conference rushing champion, McMahon rushed for 1,408 yards on the season for a 128.0 per game average which ranked him 5th in the FCS. His 7.4 yards per carry average ranked fourth in the nation and No. 1 in the conference.

The senior from Frostproof, Florida rushed for 100 yards or more seven times on the season including three straight games to end the season where he ran for 211, 197 and a career-high 239 during that span for an average of 216 per game.

He led the conference and ranked 20th in the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns, and with 14 total touchdowns scored, ranked No. 1 in the SLC and 14th nationally. In addition, the ranked second in the FCS (1st in SLC) with 171.8 all-purpose yards per game.

McMahon rushed for a career-high 239 yards in a season final win over Lamar for his second 200-yard rushing game on the season, both coming in the final three games. He was the only player in the league to achieve that mark multiple games.

McMahon and UIW quarterback Lindsey Scott, Jr. are the only two representatives from the Southland Conference named to the finalist list.

The Payton Award, which was first presented in 1987 and in its 36th season, is named for legendary running back Walter Payton, who starred at Jackson State as part of his Hall of Fame career. Affectionately known as the Heisman of the FCS, its past recipients include Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and Trey Lance.

A national media panel will select the Payton Award winner, with voting based on the regular season. The recipient will be announced at the FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game.

Also this season, Stats Perform will present the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The 2022 Walter Payton Award finalists:

Quarterbacks
Tim DeMorat, Fordham, Gr., 6-4, 220 (Patriot)
301 of 458 (65.7%), 4,573 yards, 53 TDs, 8 INTs, 184.3 pass efficiency; 5 rush TDs (11 games)
Cole Doyle, Saint Francis, R-So., 5-10, 170 (Northeast)
134 of 196 (68.4%), 1,849 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs, 179.1 pass efficiency; 310 rush yards, TD (10 games)
Bailey Fisher, Gardner-Webb, R-Sr., 5-11, 207 (Big South)
220 of 339 (64.9%), 2,755 yards, 18 TDs, 10 INTs; 146 rush yards, 8 TDs (11 games)
Michael Hiers, Samford, Jr., 6-1, 211 (Southern)
329 of 428 (76.9%), 3,290 yards, 35 TDs, 3 INTs, 167.0 pass efficiency; 161 rush yards, 3 TDs (11 games)
Parker McKinney, Eastern Kentucky, R-Jr., 6-3, 208 (ASUN)
278 of 402 (69.2%), 3,502 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs, 161. 8 pass efficiency; 372 rush yards, 8 TDs (11 games)
Tommy Mellot, Montana State, So., 6-0, 205 (Big Sky)
90 of 155 (58.1%), 1,206 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INT, 137.4 pass efficiency, 104 carries, 705 yards, 7 TDs (8 games)
Davius Richard, North Carolina Central, Jr., 6-3, 215 (MEAC)
184 of 291 (63.2%), 2,486 yards, 24 TDs, 10 INTs, 155.3 pass efficiency; 691 rush yards, 13 TDs (11 games)
Shedeur Sanders, Jackson State, So., 6-2, 215 (SWAC)
284 of 405 (70.1%), 3,083 yards, 32 TDs, 6 INTs, 157.2 pass efficiency; 159 rush yards, 5 TDs (11 games)
Lindsey Scott Jr., UIW, Sr., 5-11, 212 (Southland)
240 of 328 (73.2%), 3,791 yards, 50 TDs, 4 INTs, 218.1 pass efficiency; 342 rush yards, 7 TDs (11 games)
Matthew Sluka, Holy Cross, Jr., 6-3, 215 (Patriot)
135 of 224 (60.3%), 2,301 yards, 25 TDs, 3 INTs, 180.7 pass efficiency; 918 rush yards, 8 TDs (11 games)
Reece Udinski, Richmond, Gr., 6-4, 220 (CAA)
329 of 445 (73.9%), 3,152 yards, 24 TDs, 4 INTs, 149.4 pass efficiency; 4 rush TDs (11 games)

Running Backs
Aidan Borguet, Harvard, Sr., 5-10, 211 (Ivy)
206 carries, 1,182 yards (5.7 ypc), 10 TDs; 5 receptions, 58 yards, TD (10 games)
Jake Chisholm, Dayton, Sr., 5-9, 191 (Pioneer)
233 carries, 1,050 yards, 13 TDs; 22 receptions, 253 yards, 4 TDs (11 games)
Ailym Ford, Chattanooga, Jr., 5-9, 213 (Southern)
232 carries, 1,199 yards (5.2 ypc), 12 TDs; 10 receptions, 184 yards, 2 TDs (10 games)
Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., UC Davis, Sr., 5-9, 189 (Big Sky)
196 carries, 1,182 yards (6.0 ypc), 13 TDs; 50 receptions, 366 yards (11 games)
Geno Hess, Southeast Missouri, Sr., 5-8, 222 (Ohio Valley)
206 carries, 1,569 yards (7.6 ypc), 19 TDs; 9 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
Hunter Luepke, North Dakota State, Sr., 6-1, 236 (MVFC)
98 carries, 621 yards (6.3 ypc), 9 TDs; 14 receptions, 196 yards, 4 TDs (10 games)
Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State, Sr., 5-9, 183 (MVFC)
227 carries, 1,588 yards (7.0 ypc), 13 TDs; 19 receptions, 300 yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
Deonta McMahon, McNeese, Sr., 5-9, 185 (Southland)
191 carries, 1,408 yards (7.4 ypc), 12 TDs; 22 receptions, 210 yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
ShunDerrick Powell, North Alabama, So., 5-7, 168 (ASUN)
221 carries, 1,508 yards (6.8 ypc), 18 TDs; 24 recipients, 242 yards (11 TDs)
Jaden Shirden, Monmouth, So., 5-9, 185 (CAA)
206 carries, 1,722 yards (8.4 ypc), 13 TDs (11 games)
Cameron Skattebo, Sacramento State, So., 5-10, 212 (Big Sky)
169 carries, 1,251 yards (7.4 ypc), 5 TDs; 24 receptions, 281 yards, 3 TDs (11 games)
Bhayshul Tuten, North Carolina A&T, So., 5-11, 195 (Big South)
208 carries, 1,363 yards (6.6 ypc), 1,363 yards, 13 TDs; 31 receptions, 342 yards, 4 TDs (11 games)

Wide Receivers
Fotis Kokosioulis, Fordham, Sr., 5-9, 180 (Patriot)
89 receptions, 1,180 yards (13.3 ypc), 14 TDs; 513 kick return yards (11 games)
Xavier Gipson, Stephen F. Austin, Sr., 5-9, 180 (WAC)
65 receptions, 1,163 yards (17.9 ypc), 7 TDs; 11 punt returns, 276 yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
Devron Harper Jr., Jr., 5-9, 168, Mercer (Southern)
78 receptions, 987 yards, 10 TDs; 25 carries, 199 yards, 4 TDs; 692 return yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
Joey Hobert, Utah Tech, So., 5-11, 180 (WAC)
90 receptions, 1,258 yards (14.0 ypc), 16 TDs; 167 kick return yards (11 games)
Andrei Iosivas, Princeton, Sr., 6-3, 200 (Ivy)
66 receptions, 943 yards (14.3 ypc), 7 TDs (10 games)
Xavier Smith, Florida A&M, Gr., 5-10, 170 (SWAC)
87 receptions, 1,021 yards (11.7 ypc), 11 TDs; 144 kick return yards (11 games)

Offensive Lineman
Cody Mauch, North Dakota State, Sr., 6-6, 303 (MVFC)
35 straight starts at LT; 622 snaps: 94% overall grade, no sacks allowed, one penalty (11 games)

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