Just a sophomore, Eagle quarterback has two more chances to win coveted award given to the top player in FCS
The best news is that his season continues. And he has two more years in an Eagle uniform.
Eastern Washington University sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams finished second in the voting for the 27th Annual Payton Award given to the top player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. The winner was Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and finishing third was Towson running back Terrance West.
The Payton Award was won previously by Eastern players Erik Meyer (2005) and Bo Levi Mitchell (2011). That award is bestowed on the outstanding player in the FCS and considered the Heisman Trophy of the former Division I-AA level. The award was presented tonight (Dec. 16) at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
Earlier, the Jerry Rice Award was given to EWU's Cooper Kupp, who was represented by his parents, Craig and Karin Kupp, in accepting the award in Philadelphia. The Jerry Rice Award is named for legendary NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State.
Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin, who has called the performance by Adams "the best I've seen since I've been a college football coach," is looking forward to even more awards and honors in the future for the reigning Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
"The ride this year isn't even close to being over in our minds, and the same is true of the ride in terms of the growth we can make as a team and Vernon's growth as a quarterback," Baldwin said. "His mindset is that he wants to keep getting better and there is still a very high ceiling he can go after."
Adam is second in the nation behind Garoppolo in total offense (367.1 per game), with Big Sky record totals of 5,140 yards of offense (third in FCS history), 4,600 passing yards (fourth) and 53 touchdown passes (third). His passing efficiency rating of 185.7 leads the nation, ranks fourth all-time in FCS and is well ahead of EWU and Big Sky records.
The native of Pasadena, Calif., is 20-3 as an Eastern starter thus far in his career.
The Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player) was given to Montana State's Brad Daly and the Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) was given to North Dakota State's Craig Bohl.
Voting for the awards, conducted by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries, is based on the regular season.
Vernon Adams Season Milestones & Records
Vernon Adams Passing Efficiency (185.7/66%, 4,600 yards, 53 TD, 14 Int.) . . . Adams currently ranks fourth in FCS history, and is better than the current Big Sky record (175.2, Doug Nussmeier, Idaho, 1993/61%, 2,690 yards, 33 TD, 5 Int.) and the EWU mark (171.4, Erik Meyer, 2004/68%, 3,707 yards, 31 TD, 9 Int.).
Vernon Adams TD Passes (53) . . . His 53 touchdowns are third all-time in FCS, tied with Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, who ended his 2013 season with 53. The record of 56 is shared by Willie Totten (Mississippi Valley 1984) and Bruce Eugene (Grambling 2005). Adams broke the Big Sky single season record of 42 TD passes set by Brian Ah Yat of Montana in 1996 and the school record of 37 set by Bo Levi Mitchell in 2010.
Vernon Adams Total Offense (5,140) . . . Adams has moved into third in FCS history, moving past Jimmy Garoppolo (5,112 yards this year) and Bruce Eugene from Grambling (5,018 in 2002). Ranking No. 2 is Taylor Heinicke from Old Dominion (5,546 in 2012) and the record is held by Steve McNair from Alcorn (5,799 in 1994). Adams previously broke the Big Sky record of 4,400 set by Cameron Higgins of Weber State in 2008 and the school record of 4,224 yards set by Erik Meyer in 2005.
Vernon Adams Passing Yards (4,600) . . . Adams ranks second this season in FCS behind the 5,050 by Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, and those two players rank fourth and second, respectively in FCS history. Adams is 263 yards from third (4,863, Steve McNair, Alcorn, 1994), 450 from Garoppolo and 476 from the record (5,076, Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, 2012). Adams broke the Big Sky Conference record of 4,477 (Cameron Higgins, Weber State, 2008) and the previous school record of 4,009 (Bo Levi Mitchell in 2011).
Vernon Adams Rushing Yards (540) . . . Ranked second on the team with 540 yards, Adams broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback of 392 set by Matt Nichols in 2007.
Vernon Adams Career Milestones
Vernon Adams Passing Efficiency (177.5/64%, 6,561 yards, 73 TD, 22 Int.) . . . Although he is just shy of the minimum of 425 completions required (he has 422), Adams currently ranks ahead of the FCS record (176.7, Josh Johnson, San Diego, 2004-07/68%, 9,699 yards, 113 TD, 15 Int.). His mark also ranks ahead of the former FCS record holder (now No. 2), which are also the Big Sky and EWU records (166.5, Erik Meyer, 2002-05/66%, 10,261 yards, 84 TD, 17 Int.).
Vernon Adams TD Passes (73) . . . Already third in school history, he is 11 from moving into second (84, Erik Meyer, 2002-05). The school record is 96 (Matt Nichols, 2006-09), which is second in Big Sky history and 14th all-time in FCS.
Vernon Adams Passing Yards (6,561 yards) . . . Already fifth in school history, he is just 931 yards from moving into fourth (7,492, Mark Tenneson, 1989-92). The school record is 12,616 (Matt Nichols, 2006-09), which is the Big Sky record and eighth all-time in FCS.
Vernon Adams Total Offense (7,443 yards) . . . Already fourth in school history, he is 104 yards from moving into third (7,547, Bo Levi Mitchell, 2010-11). The school record is 13,308 (Matt Nichols, 2006-09), which is the Big Sky record and ranks sixth all-time in FCS.
Vernon Adams Rushing Yards (882) . . . Adams broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback of 692 set by Matt Nichols from 2006-09.