Image Courtesy SDSU Athletics
CHICAGO, IL (Courtesy of SDSU Athletics)- CHICAGO — Three South Dakota State standouts are among the 35 players named Wednesday to the preseason watch list for the 2022 Walter Payton Award, which is presented annually by Stats Perform to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Representing the Jackrabbits on the initial watch list are running back Isaiah Davis, wide receiver Jaxon Janke and tight end Tucker Kraft. The watch list will be updated periodically throughout the regular season, with a national media panel selecting the award winner prior to the FCS national championship game.
Davis, a junior from Joplin, Missouri, is expected to fill the featured back role after playing alongside two-time Walter Payton Award finalist Pierre Strong, Jr. the past two seasons. Davis missed most of the 2021 regular season due to injury, but managed to finish second on the team with 701 rushing yards and seven touchdown after three consecutive 100-yard games in the FCS playoffs. He has averaged nearly eight yards per carry through his first two seasons in a Jackrabbit uniform.
A senior from Madison, Janke posted team highs of 72 receptions and 1,165 receiving yards in 2021, while adding five touchdowns. He caught at least two passes in all 15 games last season and tallied 100-plus receiving yards in seven contests, including four in a row to close out the regular season.
Kraft emerged as another top receiving target for the Jackrabbits last season, catching 65 passes for 780 yards and six touchdowns. A junior from Timber Lake, Kraft notched three 100-yard games and hauled in at least two receptions in all 15 games of the 2021 campaign.