The end of the regular season signals the start of an avalanche of postseason honors.
STATS Inc, a renowned leader in Football Championship Subdivision coverage, will again administer its Legacy Awards program and the Northeast Conference have a trio of finalists in the running for major accolades.
Duquesne quarterback Tommy Stuart finds himself up for the prestigious Walter Payton Award following an extremely-efficient season on The Bluff.
Saint Francis cornerback Malik Duncan, a shutdown DB who plays the run well, made the final candidate pool for the Buck Buchanan Award.
After guiding Central Connecticut to a six-win improvement, head coach Pete Rossomando is vying for the Eddie Robinson Award.
The winners are announced on the eve of the FCS Championship Game in Frisco, TX.
Read their credentials below…
TOMMY STUART, DUQUESNE (QB, Gr., 6-0, 205)
- Leads NEC (8th in FCS) in passer efficiency rating (159.30)
- Completes league-leading 66.7 percent of pass attempts, the fourth-highest mark in FCS (completed more than 60 percent of attempts in nine of 11 games)
- Averaging a conference-best 8.1 yards per pass attempt for an offense that averages a NEC-high 6.1 yards per play
- Responsible for 32 touchdowns (27 pass, 5 rush) while directing NEC’s top-ranked scoring offense (32.2 ppg)
- His 27 passing TD, which are one shy of the NEC single-season record, are a league high while his eight interceptions are a second lowest in the conference
- Has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 11 games; opened season with multiple TD passes in six straight contests
- The dual threat’s 328 rush yards are second amongst NEC quarterbacks
MALIK DUNCAN, SAINT FRANCIS (CB, Sr., 5-11, 205)
- Leads a unit that owns the second-best passing defense efficiency rating (96.16) in the FCS
- Red Flash have surrendered league-low six passing touchdowns and hold opponents to a NEC-leading 5.2 yards per pass; Duncan has yet to surrender a TD in man coverage this season
- Rarely tested by the opposing passer, the 5-foot-10 cornerback has logged three interceptions and four PBU
- Exceptional run defender who has made 19 tackles on opponents’ rushing attempts; 11 stops limited ball carrier to two-yard gain or less
- Did not allow completion in road win over Bryant as SFU held NEC’s top passing attack to 4.8 yards per attempts and under 200 yards total
- Interception led to scoring drive in road win over Liberty; fumble recovery during goal-line stand vs. Towson
PETE ROSSOMANDO, CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (Head coach, Fourth season)
- Presided over the top turnaround in the NEC, going from a 2-9 overall record in 2016 to an 8-3 mark in 2017
- Clinched program’s first-ever FCS Playoffs bid with a 28-27 road win over NEC preseason favorite Duquesne
- Going 6-0 against conference foes, CCSU posted the first perfect NEC record since 2008 (Albany)
- Following an 0-3 start that featured road games with Syracuse and Youngstown State, Rossomando has led CCSU to eight wins in a row. The eight-game win streak is the longest in the program’s FCS history and the longest by a NEC team since Wagner reeled off nine straight wins in 2012.
- After a 1-5 league record in 2016, the Blue Devils were picked for a fourth-place finish in the 2017 NEC preseason poll, but went on to secure the team’s first conference crown since 2010.
2017 STATS FCS AWARDS
WALTER PAYTON AWARD FINALISTS
(FCS Offensive Player of the Year)
Dominick Bragalone, RB, Jr. – Lehigh; Jeremiah Briscoe, QB, Sr. – Sam Houston State; Chandler Burks, QB, Jr. – Kennesaw State; Taryn Christion, QB, Jr. – South Dakota State; Case Cookus, QB, So. – Northern Arizona; Keelan Doss, WR, Jr. – UC Davis; Dallas Goedert, TE, Sr. – South Dakota State; Gage Gubrud, QB, Jr. – Eastern Washington; Hayden Hildebrand, QB, Sr. – Central Arkansas; Devlin Hodges, QB, Jr. – Samford; Chad Kanoff, QB, Sr. – Princeton; DeVante Kincade, QB, Sr. – Grambling State; Kyle Lauletta, QB, Sr. – Richmond; Anthony Lawrence, QB, Jr. – San Diego; Josh Mack, RB, So. – Maine; Detrez Newsome, RB, Sr. – Western Carolina; Neil O’Connor, WR, Jr. – New Hampshire; Brandon Parker, OT, Sr. – North Carolina A&T; Troy Pelletier, WR, Sr. – Lehigh; Lamar Raynard, QB, Jr. – North Carolina A&T; Bryan Schor, QB, Sr. – James Madison; Chris Streveler, QB, Sr. – South Dakota, QB; Tommy Stuart, QB, Grad – Duquesne; Roc Thomas, RB, Sr. – Jacksonville State; Justin Watson, WR, Sr. – Penn
BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD FINALISTS
(FCS Defensive Player of the Year)
Andrew Ankrah, DE, Sr. – James Madison; Mike Basile, SS, Sr. – Monmouth; Marlon Bridges, FS, So. – Jacksonville State; Brandon Bryant, LB, Sr. – Lafayette; Josh Buss, LB, Jr. – Montana; De’Arius Christmas, LB, Jr. – Grambling State; Nick DeLuca, LB, Sr. – North Dakota State; Garrett Dolan, LB, Sr. – Houston Baptist; Malik Duncan, CB, Sr. – Saint Francis; Anthony Ellis, DE, Sr. – Charleston Southern; Jared Farley, LB, Sr. – Northern Iowa; Ahmad Gooden, DE, Jr. – Samford; P.J. Hall, DL, Sr. – Sam Houston State; Davontae Harris, CB, Sr. – Illinois State; Darius Jackson, DE, Sr. – Jacksonville State; Mario Jenkins, LB, Sr. – Idaho State; Darius Leonard, LB, Sr. – South Carolina State; Warren Messer, LB, Jr. – Elon; Matthew Oplinger, OLB, Sr. – Yale; Jonathan Peterson, DE, Sr. – San Diego; Christian Rozeboom, LB, So. – South Dakota State; Tremon Smith, CB, Sr. – Central Arkansas; Brett Taylor, LB, Sr. – Western Illinois; Sione Teuhema, LB, Sr. – Southeastern Louisiana; Jaison Williams, DE, So. – Austin Peay
JERRY RICE AWARD FINALISTS
(FCS Freshman Player of the Year)
Troy Anderson, RB/LB – Montana State; Bryson Armstrong, LB – Kennesaw State; Grant Breneman, QB – Colgate; Davis Cheek, QB – Elon; Jabril Cox, LB – North Dakota State; Kierre Crossley, RB – Central Arkansas; Glenn Cunningham, LB – Fordham; Zane Dudek, RB – Yale; Wesley Dugger, RB – Davidson; Reynard Ellis, LB – Furman; Jaron Grayer, LB – Maine; Pete Guerriero, RB – Monmouth; Gresch Jensen, QB – Montana; Anthony Knighton, DE – Southern Illinois; Torrance Marable, RB – Presbyterian; Franklin “Mac” McCain III, CB – North Carolina A&T; Caylin Newton, QB – Howard; Kaelan Riley, QB – Mercer, QB; Vincent Sellers, S – Tennessee State; Daniel Smith, QB – Campbell
EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD FINALISTS
(FCS Coach of the Year)
Mike Ayers, Wofford; Al Bagnoli, Columbia; Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State; Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T; Kevin Callahan, Monmouth; Dave Cecchini, Valparaiso; Curt Cignetti, Elon; Charlie Fisher, Western Illinois; John Grass, Jacksonville State; Will Healy, Austin Peay; Mike Houston, James Madison; Dan Hunt, Colgate; Chris Klieman, North Dakota State; Mike London, Howard; Fred McNair, Alcorn State; Tim Rebowe, Nicholls; Pete Rossomando, Central Connecticut State; Demario Warren, Southern Utah