Coastal Carolina junior quarterback Alex Ross was one of 20 players named Monday to the initial Walter Payton Award Watch List.
The Walter Payton Award is presented by The Sports Network to the most outstanding player in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Previous winners include the likes of Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Armanti Edwards and 2013 recipient Jimmy Garoppolo.
Ross (Alpharetta, Ga. / Buford HS) is one of nine quarterbacks on the initial list (a quarterback has won the award in each of the last 10 years) and one of just three juniors to the list. He is joined on the list by fellow Big South student-athlete Kenny Cook, a wide receiver from Gardner-Webb. Ross is the third Chanticleer to be a Walter Payton Award nominee. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen finished seventh in the voting in 2006 and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro finished 11th in the voting last season.
Ross is coming off an impressive sophomore campaign ?? his first year as the Chanticleers?? starting quarterback ?? as he earned first team All-Big South honors by helping the program win its sixth Big South title and set 24 single-season offensive records, including 18 Big South single-season marks. Coastal additionally won 12 games, reached the NCAA Division I Championship quarterfinals and a final national ranking of seventh ?? all CCU and Big South firsts.
In Ross?? 15 career starts, Coastal Carolina is 12-3 and he has been the starter under center in five of Coastal Carolina??s top seven games of total offense while contributing to a total of nine of the school??s top 20 single-game performances, including a CCU record 652 yards of in a win over Elon last season.
Ross, who completed 232-of-358 passes for 3,093 yards and 26 scores in 2013, led the Big South in seven offensive categories last season while ranking sixth in the FCS in passing efficiency (156.3), 14th in passing touchdowns (26), 14th in points responsible for (194), 16th in passing yards (3,093), 18th in yards per completion (13.33), 19th in completion percentage (.648) and 29th in total offense yards per game (259.5). He additionally ranks sixth in the Big South with six rushing TDs and seventh in the league by rushing for 540 yards.
In 21 career games at Coastal, Ross has completed 258-of-406 passes (.635) for 3,520 yards with 10 interceptions and 31 touchdowns. His 156.6 career pass efficiency to date is a school record. Ross also has the two longest pass plays in CCU history, completing an 86-yard touchdown to DeMario Bennett in an NCAAA second-round playoff win at Montana this past season and an 81-yard touchdown completion to Niccolo Mastromatteo in his first career start at Gardner-Webb in 2012.