Aug. 31, 2007
Yale junior tailback Mike McLeod is one of 16 Football Championship Subdivision players on the recently named 2007 Payton Award watch list. This is the first time a Bulldog has been included on the list for the FCS (formerly I-AA) player of the year.
McLeod and the Bulldogs, who faced Princeton in an Aug. 30 scrimmage at Yale Bowl, open the 2007 campaign at Georgetown on Sept. 15.
Ricky Santos, the 2006 Walter Payton Award winner, heads the stellar class named after former NFL star Walter Payton. Santos, the senior quarterback from New Hampshire, looks to become the first player to repeat as a Payton winner.
The Payton Award has been given since 1987. The 2007 Payton Award will be presented in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Dec. 13, the night before the FCS national championship game.
Joining McLeod and Santos on the Payton watch list are three players who were finalists for the 2006 Payton Award, Furman fullback Jerome Felton, San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson and Appalachian State running back Kevin Richardson.
Delaware running back Omar Cuff, Montana running back Lex Hilliard and Northern Iowa quarterback Eric Sanders are three other players who have been apart of the Payton watch in past seasons that have returned in 2007. Both Cuff and Hilliard suffered through injury-plagues years in 2006.
Other newcomers to the Payton watch are Tennessee-Martin running back Donald Chapman, Massachusetts quarterback Liam Coen, Western Illinois running back Herb Donaldson, Illinois State quarterback Luke Drone, Towson quarterback Sean Schaefer, Coastal Carolina receiver Jerome Simpson, Northern Arizona receiver Alex Watson and McNeese State returnman and receiver Steven Whitehead.
2007 Walter Payton Award Watch List
Donald Chapman, Senior, Running Back, Tennessee-Martin
Liam Coen, Junior, Quarterback, Massachusetts
Omar Cuff, Senior, Running Back, Delaware
Herb Donaldson, Junior, Running Back, Western Illinois
Luke Drone, Senior, Quarterback, Illinois State
Jerome Felton, Senior, Fullback, Furman
Lex Hilliard, Senior, Running Back, Montana
Josh Johnson, Senior, Quarterback, San Diego
Mike McLeod, Junior, Running Back, Yale
Kevin Richardson, Senior, Running Back, Appalachian State
Eric Sanders, Senior, Quarterback, Northern Iowa
Ricky Santos, Senior, Quarterback, New Hampshire
Sean Schaefer, Junior, Quarterback, Towson
Jerome Simpson, Senior, Wide Receiver, Coastal Carolina
Alex Watson, Senior, Wide Receiver, Northern Arizona
Steven Whitehead, Senior, Kick Returner/Wide Receiver, McNeese State.