It’s been a busy week for former Teurlings Rebel Cole Kelley. Less than 24 hours after earning AP All-American honors, Kelley was named the winner of the Stats Perform Walter Payton Award, which is the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
Kelley is the 34th recipient of the Payton Award, which is awarded to the best offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
The quarterback for the Southeastern Louisiana Lions is the third Payton Award recipient from the Southland Conference, joining Stephen F. Austin’s Jeremy Moses in 2010 and Sam Houston’s Jeremiah Briscoe who went back-to-back, winning the award in 2016 and 2017. Kelley is also the first player from a Louisiana university to receive the honor since Grambling’s Walter Dean won the award in 1990.
“This is a great honor not just for Cole, but our entire program and our university,” Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo said in a release by the university. “Cole’s statistics speak for themselves and I’ll put his numbers against anybody’s in the country. But to understand his real value to our program, you have to go beyond the box score. It’s Cole’s leadership and command of the locker room, the way he’s developed those traits is what has allowed him to develop into such a special player and someone who deserves to win the Walter Payton Award.”
Kelley’s coming off of a successful season, leading the nation with 2,622 passing yards and 27 total touchdowns, 18 of which were passing.