July 11, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - After receiving numerous preseason All-America nods following an outstanding 2010 campaign, Colgate senior running back Nate Eachus has claimed his top distinction to date heading into the fall as he was selected as one of 20 candidates on the watch list for the 2011 Walter Payton Award.
Presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com, the Walter Payton Award enters its 25th season as the top individual honor in the Football Championship Subdivision. Eachus finished sixth in the voting last year, making him the second-highest returning vote-getter behind only Appalachian State quarterback DeAndre Presley, who placed third.
The 2010 Patriot League Football Offensive Player of the Year, Eachus has received a plethora of honors heading into the upcoming season. He was ranked as one of the top running backs in the nation by The Sports Network and received first-team preseason All-America recognition from numerous outlets including Sporting News, Athlon, Lindy's and Consensus Draft Services.
Eachus earned consensus first-team FCS All-America honors following his stellar 2010 campaign. He had one of the best seasons for a running back in school and Patriot League history, carrying 317 times for 1,871 yards and 21 touchdowns for the year while also catching 17 passes for 160 yards and a score. The 1,871 rushing yards stood third in a single-season in Patriot League history, just four yards behind former teammate Jordan Scott (2007). Eachus averaged 170.1 rushing yards per game, which led the FCS by nearly 25 yards per contest. It was the second-best mark in Patriot League annals, just behind Scott's 170.5 average in 2007.
Eachus enters the 2011 season seventh in Patriot League history with 3,722 career rushing yards, and fifth with 47 rushing touchdowns.
Eachus will aim to become the third Patriot Leaguer to win the Walter Payton Award. The previous two were also Colgate running backs, as Kenny Gamble won the inaugural award in 1987 and Jamaal Branch claimed the honor in 2003.
The Payton Award Watch List will undergo revision during the 2011 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season on Nov. 21. Three finalists will be announced on Dec. 1 and invited to The Sports Network/Fathead FCS Awards Presentation on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, the site of the national championship game.
The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards which are sponsored by Fathead.com. The Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year, the new Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award, which also is celebrating its 25th anniversary, honors the FCS coach of the year. Those three winners will join the top three Payton finalists at the national awards banquet.