Four nominated to FCS Offensive Player Watch List

BY foxsports • October 4, 2016

(STATS) - With some standouts in the FCS, it can be hard to tell when they have a big game.

They make it happen so often.

Quarterbacks Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State, Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington and Devlin Hodges of Samford as well as James Madison running back Khalid Abdullah have been special on a weekly basis this season. On Tuesday, they were nominated to the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List.

The four nominees:

Khalid Abdullah, James Madison, TB, Sr., 5-10, 220, Newport News, Virginia

This home run threat teams with childhood friend Cardon Johnson to give James Madison perhaps the most lethal 1-2 running back duo in the FCS. Abdullah has ability to get around the edges, but also terrific vision for finding holes. He runs hard through the line of scrimmage, picking up extra yards after contact. … Off to a superb start as a senior, including four straight 100-yard games, matching his season total of a year ago. ... Has an FCS-high 603 rushing yards (on 7.7 yards per carry) and tied for the national high with nine touchdowns. Coach Mike Houston says Abdullah has the strongest work habits on the Dukes' nationally ranked team. … Fell just short of 1,000 yards as a junior, scoring 13 touchdowns.

Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State, QB, R-Jr., 6-3, 220, Houston

A nationally rated quarterback in high school, Briscoe has traveled a winding road to become the leader of one of the FCS' most prolific offenses. … Shared playing time in his first season at Sam Houston with Jared Johnson, the 2015 Southland Conference offensive player of the year, but Briscoe was a standout in the Bearkats' playoff run to the national semifinals. … The pro-style passer threw for a school-record seven touchdown passes against Stephen F. Austin last Saturday, giving him 16 in only four games. … Spent his senior season in high school playing under Eliot Allen, who coached Andrew Luck. Briscoe transferred to Sam Houston from UAB after the Blazers program folded following the 2014 season.

Gage Gubrud, Eastern Washington, QB, R-So., 6-2, 195, McMinnville, Oregon

When Gubrud (pronounced goo-brood) kicked excellent rugby-style punts into strong wind gusts at Weber State as a freshman, the Eagles surely knew they had a special player. As a sophomore in 2016, he's burst onto the scene after winning the starting quarterback job away from two returnees, including a 3,000-yard passer. … Dual-threat racked up a school-record 551 total yards with six total touchdowns in his first career start, EWU's 45-42 win over Pac-12 member Washington State to open the season. … Uses a quick release in the pocket, but also has good foot speed to gain yardage up the field. A former walk-on, Gubrud is among the FCS leaders in a number of statistical categories, including passing yards per game (383.2), total offense per game (438.2) and touchdown passes (18).

Devlin Hodges, Samford, QB, R-So., 6-1, 213, Kimberly, Alabama

Samford coach Chris Hatcher turned over the keys to the offense to Hodges midway through the 2015 season and the Bulldogs have been dangerous ever since. Hodges is a dual-threat with a quick release and efficient style. In his first collegiate start against Western Carolina, Hodges was 42 of 61 for 399 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and a score. He finished his freshman season as the Southern Conference's offensive player of the month for November and made the conference's all-freshman team. He's running less as a sophomore, but has been even better as a passer, throwing for 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions in four games.

Preseason selections to the watch list were quarterbacks Aaron Bailey of Northern Iowa, Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, Austin Gahafer of Morehead State, KD Humphries of Murray State, Eli Jenkins of Jacksonville State, Kyle Lauletta of Richmond, RJ Noel of Sacred Heart and Peter Pujals of Holy Cross; running backs Kendell Anderson of William & Mary, Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T, Derrick Craine of Chattanooga, Chase Edmonds of Fordham, Darius Hammond of Charleston Southern, Kade Harrington of Lamar, De'Angelo Henderson of Coastal Carolina, John Santiago of North Dakota, Lenard Tillery of Southern and Darius Victor of Towson; and wide receivers Emmanuel Butler of Northern Arizona, Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington, Justin Watson of Penn and Jake Wieneke of South Dakota State. Kupp won the award last season.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year following the regular season. Also, STATS will honor the outstanding defensive player in the FCS, a freshman player of the year, a coach of the year and the Eddie & Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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