Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp is the winner of the Walter Payton Award, Mickey Charles LLC of www.FCSAwards.com announced Monday.
The awards program for the NCAA Football Championship was founded by Charles and The Sports Network, and is now in its 29th year. However, The Sports Network is now defunct, and the awards are independently presented by Mickey Charles LLC.
STATS now sponsors what is considered the major FCS awards, which will be presented Jan. 8 on the eve of the national championship game in Frisco, Texas, between North Dakota State and Jacksonville State.
Kupp is one of three finalists for the Offensive Player of the Year Award and is also a candidate for the same honor from the FCS Athletic Director’s Association.
Previously, Kupp was named a first-team selection on All-America teams announced by the American Football Coaches Association, STATS, Associated Press, the FCS Athletic Director’s Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation and College Sports Madness. The FCS ADA selected him as its recipient of FCS Wide Receiver of the Year.
Kupp’s 2015 season included 114 receptions. That broke the previous league record of 112 and ranks eighth all-time in FCS history.
In 2015, Kupp led FCS in five categories – receptions, receptions per game (10.4), reception yards (1,642), reception yards per game (149.3) and touchdown receptions (19). The players closest to him in FCS were eight catches, 170 yards and four TDs behind him, and in the league the next-best player for catches was teammate Kendrick Bourne.
Through his junior season, Kupp has established eight Big Sky Conference records, as well as 17 school marks and seven NCAA Football Championships records. His 122.4 average reception yards per game is currently a FCS career record, while his other six FCS records were set during his freshman season. His average of 10.4 catches per game in 2015 was also a league record (sixth all-time in FCS), to go along with six career marks he set in just three seasons – all ending with first team All-Big Sky accolades.
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