Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Colgate's Gavin McCarney is a superb rusher who keeps improving as a passer. Appalachian State's Jamal Jackson is a terrific pocket passer who has the skills to roll out and run the ball effectively.
Both quarterbacks have dominated play this season, setting records along the way, while joining the 2012 Walter Payton Award Watch List on Tuesday.
The Payton Award, presented by The Sports Network, and in its 26th year, is presented to the outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
This year's winner, to be chosen from 20 candidates, will join a list of Payton Award greats such as Steve McNair, Brian Westbrook, John Friesz, Tony Romo, Brian Finneran, Armanti Edwards and 2011 recipient Bo Levi Mitchell.
McCarney, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound junior, has helped Colgate compile a 7-3 record and capture the Patriot League title. He guides an offense that ranks No. 1 in the league and No. 3 in the FCS with a 41.2-point average.
He ranks first nationally in scoring (12.8 ppg), second in points responsible for (21.2 ppg), fourth in passing efficiency (159.65) and seventh in total offense (317.2 ypg). Among McCarney's 12 school records are total offensive yards in a game (512), rushing yards by a quarterback in a game (288), rushing yards by a quarterback in a season (1,131), touchdowns in a season by a quarterback (21) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass (12).
He earned national co-offensive player of the week honors in league wins over Georgetown and Lafayette.
Jackson, a 6-3, 208-pound junior, has been equally effective for Appalachian State's nationally ranked program, although he is most talented as a passer. He stands tall in the pocket and has outstanding accuracy downfield. This season, he has ranked first or second in the Southern Conference and in the Top 20 nationally in passing yards per game (264.1), total offense (294.5 ypg) and passing efficiency (146.18)
In 10 games, he's helped the Mountaineers to a share of the SoCon title and completed 235-of-361 pass attempts (65.1 percent) for 2,905 yards and 19 touchdowns (against seven interceptions). He has carried the ball 108 times for 334 yards and five touchdowns.
Other nominees on the Watch List are quarterbacks Casey Brockman of Murray State, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, Taylor Heinicke of Old Dominion, DeNarius McGhee of Montana State, Wynrick Smothers of Central Arkansas and Brad Sorensen of Southern Utah; running backs Zach Bauman of Northern Arizona, Shakir Bell of Indiana State, Jamaine Cook of Youngstown State, Matt Denham of Eastern Kentucky, Timothy Flanders of Sam Houston State, Miguel Maysonet of Stony Brook, Terrance West of Towson, Deonte Williams of Cal Poly and Zach Zenner of South Dakota State; fullback Eric Breitenstein of Wofford; and wide receivers Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois and Aaron Mellette of Elon.
Bios of all 20 players can be found at http://tiny.cc/264bhw.
The Payton Award will be voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top three vote-getters will be invited to the FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation on Dec. 17 in Philadelphia.
They will be joined at the banquet by the winners of the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards, which also are presented by The Sports Network. The Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year.