Strong Jr. again a Payton award finalist

Dave Eggen/Inertia Sports Media

CHICAGO – South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong, Jr., is one of 25 finalists for the 2021 Stats Perform Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

A senior from Little Rock, Arkansas, Strong was selected as a finalist for the second season in a row. Strong ended the regular season with 1,317 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He is averaging 6.9 yards per carry in topping the 100-yard mark in eight of 11 games for a Jackrabbit squad that will be making its 10th consecutive appearance in the FCS playoffs when it hosts UC Davis in first-round action Saturday.

During the 2020-21 spring season, Strong finished seventh in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award.

Strong has posted three 1,000-yard seasons in his career and ranks fourth on the all-time SDSU charts with 4,158 rushing yards and 37 rushing touchdowns.

Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning and Missouri State quarterback Jason Shelley were also named finalists from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. A. 50-member national media panel will select the winner, who will be announced on Jan. 7 – the eve of the FCS championship game º in Frisco, Texas.

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