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Southern Utah's Brad Sorensen Named to Payton Award Watch List


SUU's Brad Sorensen

SUU's Brad Sorensen

July 11, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen has been named to the Payton Award watch list. The race for the 2011 Walter Payton Award, sponsored by Fathead.com, kicked off Monday with The Sports Network's announcement that six returning finalists from last season headline a stellar 20-player Watch List for the Football Championship Subdivision's top individual honor.

The Payton Award will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season and be presented to the FCS' outstanding player at the national awards banquet Thursday night, Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

This season's winner will join a list of Payton Award greats such as Steve McNair, John Friesz, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Brian Finneran, Armanti Edwards and 2010 winner Jeremy Moses of Stephen F. Austin.

Sorensen's inclusion on the Payton Award watch list comes on the heels of other national preseason honors. He was tabbed as the third-best non-FBS player in the nation last week by ESPN.com and has already been named to Consensus Draft Services pre-season all-America list as well as to the College Football Performance Awards 2011 watch list.

Last season Sorensen threw for 21 touchdowns and a school-record 3,231 yards while leading the Thunderbirds to their first Great West Conference championship and earning consensus first-team all-GWC honors at the quarterback position.

The junior from Grand Terrace, Calif., is the top returning passer in the FCS ranks in terms of completions per game, with an average of 23.73 last season, a figure which ranked fourth overall. He also ranked fourth in yards per game with 287.55, the second-best average among quarterbacks returning for the 2011 season. In addition to those two marks, Sorensen was sixth last season in both total passing yards (3,231) and passing efficiency (149.74), numbers which check in third among returning quarterbacks, and was eighth in total offense with 288.18 yards per game, fifth-best among returning players.

Sorensen is the second Thunderbird in as many years to be named to the watch list and the third SUU player overall to be named. Last year senior wide receiver Tysson Poots was on the list, and in 2000 quarterback Matt Cannon became SUU's first Payton Award Watch list honoree.

The Payton Award Watch List will undergo revision 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.

The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards which are sponsored by Fathead.com. The Buchanan Award honors the FCS defensive player of the year, the new Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award, which also is celebrating its 25th anniversary, honors the FCS coach of the year. Sorensen's coach, Ed Lamb, was a finalist for the Robinson Award last year.

The Buchanan, Rice and Robinson Award winners will join the top three Payton finalists at the national awards banquet.