FCS Awards rank high with HBCU’s greatest athletes

(STATS) – It feels like FCS Awards season in spring.

The legacy awards in college football’s subdivision, presented annually by STATS, were well represented in an ESPN ranking of the top 25 athletes to play at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The ranking ran on theundefeated.com.

The namesakes of three FCS Awards ranked high on the list: Jerry Rice at No. 5 – his award honors the national freshman of the year; Walter Payton at No. 6 – his award honors the national offensive player of the year; and Buck Buchanan at No. 12 – his award honors the national defensive player of the year. Buchanan was a defensive lineman and Payton a running back at Grambling State, while Rice starred at wide receiver at Mississippi Valley State.

Steve McNair, who won the 1994 Payton Award as a senior quarterback at Alcorn State, was No. 19 in the ranking.

Headlining the list at No. 1 was Doug Williams, who played quarterback at Grambling State under legendary coach Eddie Robinson – namesake of the FCS coach of the year award – and was MVP of Super Bowl XXII. Williams is a three-time presenter of the FCS Awards, including two of the last three years.

“It’s an absolute honor to be associated with such esteemed namesakes,” Brian Orefice, STATS’ director of news and data, said of the FCS Awards.

The Undefeated ranking included 11 football players as well as male and female athletes who represented baseball, basketball and track and field.