Youngstown State senior tailback Jamaine Cook (Cleveland, Ohio) is one of 20 finalists for the 2012 Walter Payton Award, which honors the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Cook had 1,279 yards on 279 carries and scored a career-high 15 touchdowns in 2012.
Cook's consistency throughout his career has helped set him apart from so other flash-in-the-pan candidates. In each one of his three years as a starter, he rushed for more than 1,276 yards, had at least 241 carries and scored more than 11 touchdowns every year.
On 20 occasions he rushed for more than 100 yards in a game, the second most in school history. TB Tamron Smith set the school mark of 22, however he had the benefit of numerous postseason contests.
He finished his 43-game career with 4,052 yards on 811 carries and scored 39 touchdowns. He ranked second in school history in career rushing yards after becoming just the second player to eclipse the 4,000-yard barrier. In this three seasons as the team's starter, he averaged 116 yards as a sophomore, 126 yards as a junior and 116.3 as a senior.
He set the school record for career all-purpose yardage with 5,220, averaging 121.4 yards per game during his career.
This season he posted career highs in carries and touchdowns.
Other finalists for the award include; Northern Arizona RB Zach Baumann, Indiana State RB Shakir Bell, Wofford FB Eric Breitenstein, Murray State QB Casey Brockman, Eastern Kentucky RB Matt Denham, Sam Houston State RB Timothy Flanders, Eastern Illinois QB Bobby Garoppolo, Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke, Appalachian State QB Jamal Jackson, Eastern Illinois WR Erik Lora, Stony Brook RB Miquel Maysonet, Colgate QB Gavin McCarney, Montana State QB Dariud McGhee, Elon WR Aaron Mellette, Central Arkansas QB Wynrick Smothers, Southern Utah QB Brad Sorenson, Towson RB Terrance West, Cal Poly Slot Back Deonte Williams and South Dakota State RB Zach Zenner.
The voting is done by voters in The Sports Network weekly top 25 poll. The deadline is Friday.