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November 09, 2016

(STATS) - Lifting the play of teammates is an intangible that can't be measured.

But everybody can see who does its best.

It's a trait of the eight all-conference and All-America players who were nominated to the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List on Wednesday. The Payton Award, in its 30th season, honors the offensive player of the year in the FCS.

The nominees:

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Dillon Buechel, Duquesne, QB, R-Sr., 6-4, 200, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania

A fourth-year starter, Buechel (pronounced BEE-kull) is the gunslinger of the Northeast Conference. Ranks among the school's all-time leaders in completions (761), passing yards (9,778) and touchdown passes (71). He has two more regular-season games to try to surpass 10,000 career yards. … Led the Dukes to the 2015 NEC title and had perhaps his best game ever in the FCS playoffs, throwing for 423 yards and six touchdowns against William & Mary. … In 2013, Buechel was the first Duquesne freshman quarterback to start the season opener in eight years. Was named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List as a top first-year player. … Coaches laud Buechel for his film study and playing with a high football IQ.

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Julie'n Davenport, Bucknell, LT, Sr., 6-7, 315, Paulsboro, New Jersey

Davenport hasn't missed a start at left tackle since arriving at Bucknell in 2013. He has good size (including an 84-inch wingspan), strength and athleticism and often overmatches defensive players in the Patriot League. Also, known for having a good football IQ. … Began his senior season on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America first team after finishing his junior campaign on the second team. He made the All-Patriot League second team as a freshman and is working on his third straight season on the first team. … A cousin to NBA player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davenport is expected to be Bucknell's first NFL Draft choice since the Baltimore Colts picked wide receiver Sam Havrilak in 1969.

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Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State, TE, R-Jr., 6-4, 250, Britton, South Dakota

Already one of the top tight ends in the FCS in 2015, Goedert has become an unstoppable force as a redshirt junior. Ranks among the FCS leaders in receptions (69, fourth), receiving yards (1,050, second) and touchdown receptions (10, tie for seventh). … He has wide receiver skills in a tight end's body: quick enough to run the jet sweep for SDSU, but strong enough to carry multiple tacklers for a few extra yards. … Has large hands to reel in passes. … On a seven-game streak going over 100 receiving yards and had a four-game stretch in October in which he had double-digit reception totals three times.

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DeVante Kincade, Grambling State, QB, R-Jr., 6-1, 190, Dallas

Transfer from Ole Miss has excelled in replacing Jonathan Williams, the 2015 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. He's a gritty leader who brings confidence to the Grambling offense. … Stays in the pocket to find his receivers, but is capable of using his legs for gaining yards. … Has thrown for 23 touchdowns and only one interception. … Took apart defending SWAC champion Alcorn State by passing for 400 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for another 58 yards and a score in a Tigers win on Sept. 24. … Was a member of Ole Miss' 2015 Sugar Bowl-winning squad.

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Anthony Lawrence, San Diego, QB, R-So., 6-1, 195, La Mesa, California

The Pioneer Football League's 2015 offensive freshman of the year has risen to a higher level as a redshirt sophomore and taken the Toreros to the verge of another league title and a second FCS playoff bid. … An efficient passer with great poise and command of the offense. Has a touchdown-to-interception ratio in his career of nearly 4-to-1. … Threw for a career-high five touchdown passes against Valparaiso on Oct. 22. Overall he has 17 TD passes this season. … Passed for 2,392 yards and 23 touchdowns as a freshman. Threw for 9,079 yards and 96 touchdowns in high school.

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Tyrell Maxwell, Gardner-Webb, QB, Jr., 6-2, 220, Cordova, South Carolina

The Big South's all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback continues to develop as a passer and is the top dual-threat signal caller in the conference. … Led an upset of No. 8 Charleston Southern on Nov. 5 with 360 yards of total offense and two total touchdowns, including the game-winning pass with 27 seconds remaining. … Fast and elusive, the second-year starter continues to add to his conference record of games with 100-plus yards both passing and rushing (six games). He's cut down on interceptions, throwing only four in 212 attempts this season. … His 865 rushing yards leads all quarterbacks in the FCS.

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Troy Pelletier, Lehigh, WR, Jr., 6-3, 205, Deerfield, New Hampshire

Productive since his freshman season at Lehigh, Pelletier has taken his pass catching to an elite level. He is tied for the FCS high in receptions (80) and is fourth in receiving yards (1,047). … Has helped Lehigh to the Patriot League title and an FCS playoff bid. … Known for his excellent hands and ability to gain yards after the catch. … Was a finalist for the 2014 Jerry Rice Award as national freshman of the year, totaling 49 receptions for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. Was a first-team All-Patriot League selection as a sophomore with 78 receptions for 831 yards and eight touchdowns.

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Bryan Schor, James Madison, QB, Jr., 6-2, 213, Milford, Pennsylvania

Fought to win the starting job when James Madison added an FBS transfer quarterback this offseason, and Schor has paid dividends with a superb season. Has been named the CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week four times in the last six weeks. … Set the school record for completion percentage by connecting on 21 of 22 passes for 309 yards and five touchdowns against Rhode Island on Oct. 29. … Leads JMU's high-powered offense with an intelligent style and he's mobile, rushing for 129 yards in the 2016 opener versus Morehead State. … Started the final four games of the Dukes' FCS playoff season in 2015.

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The offensive watch list also includes:

Quarterbacks: Aaron Bailey of Northern Iowa, Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State, Taryn Christion of South Dakota State, Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, Austin Gahafer of Morehead State, Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington, Brady Gustafson of Montana, Devlin Hodges of Samford, KD Humphries of Murray State, Eli Jenkins of Jacksonville State, Kyle Lauletta of Richmond, RJ Noel of Sacred Heart and Peter Pujals of Holy Cross;

Running backs: Khalid Abdullah of James Madison, Kendell Anderson of William & Mary, Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T, Derrick Craine of Chattanooga, Chase Edmonds of Fordham, Darius Hammond of Charleston Southern, Kade Harrington of Lamar, De'Angelo Henderson of Coastal Carolina, John Santiago of North Dakota, Lenard Tillery of Southern and Darius Victor of Towson;

Wide receivers: Emmanuel Butler of Northern Arizona, 2015 award winner Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington, Justin Watson of Penn and Jake Wieneke of South Dakota State.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award following the regular season. Also this season, STATS will present the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), the Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), the Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and the Doris Robinson FCS Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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