Scott Jr., Gums, Grimes land on Walter Payton Award Watch List

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Julian Gums
Julian Gums

Southland trio earn consideration for national offensive player of the year honor

CHICAGO – UIW’s Lindsey Scott Jr. and Taylor Grimes, along with Nicholls’ Julien Gums, are among the 35 members of the Walter Payton Award Watch List, announced by Stats Perform on Wednesday.

Scott Jr. is a familiar face for Southland defenses but will don a Cardinal uniform in 2021 after transferring from Nicholls. Last year for the Colonels, he came just 10 rushing yards shy of becoming the 15th quarterback in FCS history and the second in Southland history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

After posting back-to-back 100-yard outings in weeks 3-4 last fall, Gums missed the remainder of the season with an injury but returns to the gridiron needing just 103 yards to set the program record for career rushing yards. His finest season to date came in 2019, when he led the league in yards per carry (5.76), rushing touchdowns (16) and rushing yards (1,232).

The reigning Southland Newcomer of the Year, Grimes led the nation with 15 touchdown receptions and ranked fourth among FCS receivers in receptions per game (7.2) last season. On Oct. 18, he was named the Southland Offensive Player of the Week after hauling in nine passes for 182 yards and a program-record four touchdowns. In all, he tallied six 100-yard performances in his first year with the Cardinals.

The Walter Payton Award, named for the legendary running back, enters its 36th season and is presented to the national FCS offensive player of the year. The Payton has served as a stepping-stone for such NFL players as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and Trey Lance. A national media panel will select the winner after the regular season.

2022 Walter Payton Award Preseason Watch List
Nic Baker, Southern Illinois, Jr., 5-9, 194
Tim DeMorat, Fordham, Gr., 6-4, 220 (2020 and 2021 Finalist)
Nick Howard, Dartmouth, Sr., 6-2, 230.
Parker McKinney, Eastern Kentucky, R-Jr., 6-3, 208
Tommy Mellot, Montana State, So., 6-0, 195
Shedeur Sanders, Jackson State, So., 6-2, 215
Lindsey Scott Jr., UIW, Sr., 5-11, 220
Trae Self, Stephen F. Austin, Sr., 6-4, 190
Jason Shelley, Missouri State, Sr., 5-11, 197 (2021 Finalist)
Xavier Shepherd, Kennesaw State, Jr., 6-0, 205 (2021 Finalist)
Reece Udinski, Richmond, Gr., 6-4, 220
Running Backs
Jake Chisholm, Dayton, Sr., 5-9, 191 (2021 Finalist)
Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State, Jr., 6-1, 220
Juwon Farri, Monmouth, R-Sr., 5-10, 195 (2020 Finalist)
Ailym Ford, Chattanooga, Jr., 5-9, 213
Narii Gaither, Gardner-Webb, Sr., 5-10, 181
Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., UC Davis, Sr., 5-9, 189
Malik Grant, Sacred Heart, Sr., 5-9, 200 (2021 Finalist)
Julien Gums, Nicholls, Sr., 5-10, 230
Darius Hale, Central Arkansas, So., 5-11, 225
Geno Hess, Southeast Missouri, Sr., 5-8, 209 (2021 Finalist)
Isaiah Ifanse, Montana State, Sr., 5-10, 202 (2021 Finalist)
Hunter Luepke, North Dakota State, Sr., 6-1, 236
Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State, Sr., 5-9, 195
Jacob Saylors, ETSU, Sr., 5-11, 195
Wide Receivers
Avante Cox, Southern Illinois, Sr., 5-10, 170
Shaquan Davis, South Carolina State, R-Jr., 6-5, 215
Xavier Gipson, Stephen F. Austin, Sr., 5-9, 170 (2021 Finalist)
Taylor Grimes, UIW, Sr., 5-11, 190
Jakob Herres, Richmond, Gr., 6-4, 225 (2020 Finalist)
Jaxon Janke, South Dakota State, Sr., 6-3, 210
Xavier Smith, Florida A&M, Gr., 5-10, 170
Tight Ends
Kemari Averett, Bethune-Cookman, Sr., 6-6, 260
Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State, Jr., 6-5, 255
Ryan Miller, Furman, R-Sr., 6-2, 221

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