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McKinnon on Payton watch list
Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon, center, displays some swagger after scoring the first of his four touchdowns against Old Dominion in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs at Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, Va., in this Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, file photo. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon was selected as one of the 20 initial members of The Sports Network Walter Payton Award watch list.
    The Walter Payton Award is presented annually to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
    McKinnon led the high-powered GSU offense last year as the rushing and scoring leader, accounting for 27 touchdowns.
    Georgia Southern claimed its ninth Division I rushing title, averaging 399.4 yards per game in 2012 and posted four of the nation’s six top single-game rushing totals.
    “This is truly a blessing and I am honored that my name is on the list for the Walter Payton Award, but this wouldn’t be even be possible without my teammates,” McKinnon said. “All the credit for this nomination goes to them.”
    McKinnon’s 1,817 rushing yards in 2012 placed him third on Georgia Southern’s single-season list behind legends Adrian Peterson (1,932 in 1998) and Jayson Foster (1,844 in 2007), both Walter Payton Award winners. Peterson was selected as the Payton Award winner in 1999 and Foster in 2007. In the Eagles’ playoff win over Central Arkansas in December, McKinnon broke Foster’s single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback, amassing 316 and coming within striking distance of Peterson’s single-game record total of 333.
    McKinnon finished the 2012 season ranked seventh nationally in rushing (129.8 yards per game) and 16th in scoring (8.71 points per game).
    McKinnon is closing in on the 3,000-yard rushing milestone.