University of Delaware Football Standout Andrew Pierce Named to Payton Award Watch List
July 11, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
PHILADELPHIA -- University of Delaware sophomore running back Andrew Pierce (at right), who made an immediate impact on the national college football scene as a freshman a year ago in leading the Blue Hens to a national runner-up finish, was one of 20 players selected to The Sports Network’s Walter Payton Award announced Monday.
The award, sponsored by Fathead.com, honors the top offensive player in the nation at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level. The Payton Award will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season and be presented at the national awards banquet Jan. 5 in Frisco, Tex.
Pierce, a 5-11, 200 lb. native of Bridgeton, N.J. (Cumberland Regional High School), is one of seven running backs, 11 quarterbacks, and two wide receivers on the list.
Delaware, which will begin pre-season drills Aug. 8, opens the 2011 season Sept. 3 when the Blue Hens travel to Annapolis, Md. to take on the U.S. Naval Academy. The home opener is set for Sept. 10 vs. West Chester at Delaware Stadium. Season tickets and great discounted ticket packages are now available with single game tickets set to go on sale beginning July 18. Go to www.bluehens.com for information.
Pierce was named the CAA Rookie of the Year and Phil Steele National Freshman of the Year and was honored as a third team All-American by both Phil Steele and by The Sports Network last season when he led the Hens to a record of 12-3, a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title, and a berth in the national championships game before falling to top-ranked Eastern Washington 20-19.
He was one of just two freshmen in the nation to earn TSN All-American laurels. Earlier in the month he was named the ECAC Eastern Rookie of the Year and was selected to the College Sporting News All-American squad.
A walk-on who earned the starting job in pre-season drills for head coach K.C. Keeler, Pierce enjoyed the finest season ever for a UD runner as he rushed 329 times for 1,655 yards and 14 touchdowns while also catching 32 passes for 199 yards and three scores. He set UD freshman records for carries in a season, yards rushing in a game (200 vs. Duquesne) and a season, rushing touchdowns in a season, and total touchdowns (16) in a season.
He was the top rusher in the nation among freshmen with 110.5 yards per game and ranked No. 5 among rookies in scoring (6.8 points per game) and No. 2 in all-purpose yards (123.0 yards per game). He also surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark seven times and averaged 126.5 yards per game in four NCAA playoff appearances. His 1,655 yards rushing was the second highest single season mark in UD history.
Seven players who finished in the Top 20 in voting for the Payton Award a year ago are pre-season candidates again in 2011. The group is led by Appalachian State quarterback DeAndre Presley, who placed third a year ago. Also returning are Colgate running back Nate Eachus (sixth), Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee (seventh), Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault (ninth), Liberty quarterback Mike Brown (11th), and Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein (19th).
Other players named to the list are quarterbacks B.J. Coleman (Chattanooga), Josh McGregor (Jacksonville), Bo Levi Mitchell (Eastern Washington), Tirrell Rennie (Northern Iowa), Casey Brockman (Murray State), Thomas DeMarco (Old Dominion), and Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah), running backs Jonathan Grimes (William & Mary), Mike Mayhew (North Carolina A&T), D.J. McNorton (North Dakota State), and Jamaine Cook (Youngstown State), and wide receivers Chris Summers (Liberty), and Brandon Kaufman (Eastern Washington).
The Payton Award Watch List will undergo revision during the 2011 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 200 sports information and media
relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season on Nov. 21. Three finalists will be announced on Dec. 1 and
invited to The Sports Network/Fathead FCS Awards Presentation.
The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards which are sponsored by Fathead.com. The Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year, the new Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award, which also is celebrating its 25th anniversary, honors the FCS coach of the year. Those three winners will join the top three Payton finalists at the national awards banquet.