Philadelphia, Pa. -- Youngstown State junior tailback Jamaine Cook (Cleveland, Ohio) is one of 20 Football Championship Subdivision standouts on the preseason watch list for the Walter Payton Award, sponsored by fathead.com, The Sports Network announced on Monday. The award honors the the top Offensive Player in the FCS.
He is one of just seven running backs on the preseason watch list, which includes 11 quarterbacks and two wide receivers.
Cook had a breakout campaign in 2010 as a sophomore. A second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection, he rushed for 1,276 yards on 241 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. In eight games of MVFC action, Cook had 973 yards on 199 attempts and scored eight touchdowns. He ranked 13th in the FCS in rushing yards per game (116.0 a game).
He was YSU's first 1,000-yard rusher since Marcus Mason in 2006. Cook had six 100-yard rushing efforts highlighted by season-high 213-yard effort on 43 carries at Illinois State.
He also caught 25 passes for 219 yards and returned 21 kickoffs for 393 yards showing his all-purpose skills. For the season, he had 1,889 all-purpose yards, averaging 171.6 per game to lead the conference. He finished the campaign ranked ninth in the FCS.
The Payton Award will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season and be presented to the FCS' outstanding player at the national awards banquet in Frisco, Texas.
The Payton Award Watch List will undergo revisions 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.
Stephen F. Austin quarterback Jeremy Moses won the award last season. The last running back to earn the honor was Colgate's Jamaal Branch in 2003. Quarterbacks have dominated the award winning seven straight and 14 of the previous 24 awards since its creation in 1987.
The Penguins are set to report to camp on Friday, August 5 with the first practice of the 2011 squad set for Saturday, August 6. YSU opens the season on Friday, Sept. 2 at Michigan State. The contest will be televised on the Big Ten Network and carried on 570 WKBN AM. For ticket information contact the YSU Athletic Ticket Office at (330) 941-1978.