Payton, Buchanan announcements highlight FCS Awards banquet

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FRISCO, Texas (STATS) - The best of the best in the FCS will be honored Friday night at the national awards banquet in Frisco, Texas.

On the eve of the NCAA Division I FCS Championship Game, a gala crowd is expected to attend the STATS FCS Banquet and Presentation hosted at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Convention Center & Spa.

Highlighting the banquet are the announcements of the STATS FCS Walter Payton and Buck Buchanan awards for the 2016 national offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.

Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe and Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud and wide receiver Cooper Kupp hope to claim the Payton Award - known as the Heisman of the FCS level and celebrating its 30th anniversary season. Kupp, last year's Payton recipient, is seeking to become the second two-time winner of the award.

Linebacker Dylan Cole of Missouri State and defensive ends P.J. Hall of Sam Houston State and Karter Schult of Northern Iowa are up for the Buchanan Award, the highest individual honor for a defensive player in the FCS.

The winners of the three other awards that will be presented were announced previously - Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler (STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award for national coach of the year), Duquesne running back A.J. Hines (STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award for national freshman player of the year) and Eastern Kentucky quarterback Tyler Swafford (STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award).

As STATS news director Brian Orefice said, "It's an absolute honor to be associated with such esteemed namesakes."

Fomer NFL linebacker Gary Reasons will serve as the master of ceremonies. Scheduled awards presenters include football legend Jerry Rice; former NFL running back Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter Payton; Super Bowl-winning quarterback Doug Williams; former NFL linebacker and two-time Buck Buchanan Award winner Dexter Coakley; and Quentin Burrell, great-grandson of Eddie and Doris Robinson.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the four most-longstanding FCS awards. The Doris Robinson Award is selected from nominations by the 13 FCS conferences.