Football

Jamaine Cook, Christian Bryan Finalists for Sports Network Awards

Youngstown State junior tailback Jamaine Cook (Cleveland, Ohio) is one of 20 finalists for the Walter Payton Award while freshman wide receiver Christian Bryan (Irwin, Pa.) is one of 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award, The Sports Network announced this week.

The Walter Payton Award honors the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision while the Jerry Rice Award goes to the top freshman. This is the first year the Jerry Rice Award will be presented.

Cook is one of seven running backs up for the honor. For the season, he had 271 carries for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 183 yards and a score. He ranks eighth in the FCS in rushing yards per game at 126.0. Cook rushed for more than 100 yards in eight contests this year and had only fewer than 90 on one occasion. He had career highs in rushes, yards and touchdowns this season after rushing for 1,276 yards on 241 attempts a year ago.

Bryan is one of five wide receivers on a very talented list for the Jerry Rice Award. Of all freshman wide receivers at the FCS level, Bryan ranks first in yards (719), second in yards per game (65.36), second in touchdowns (six) and fourth in receptions (45). He set YSU freshman records for single-game yards and receptions and season yards, receptions and touchdowns.

The Payton Award, in its 25th year, is given to the outstanding player in the FCS, while the Buchanan Award is bestowed on the outstanding defensive player in the FCS. Each award is presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.

Ballots for the Payton, presented by The Sports Network and Fathead.com sponsors - were sent to a panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. All four award winners will be announced at the national awards banquet on Friday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.

The winner of the Rice Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com, will be announced at the national awards banquet on Friday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.

A panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the Rice Award winner.

Rice made receiving look effortless during his amazing career in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State University. He was a two-time first-team All-American and finished his career with 310 receptions for 4,851 yards and 50 touchdowns. His 27 TD receptions in 1984 set the NCAA record for all divisions.

Voting for both awards will reflect only the regular season.