Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Villanova QB Robertson named Walter Payton finalist

Special to the Phanatic

On the night Villanova University quarterback John Robertson received national freshman of the year honors at the 2012 FCS Awards Presentation, Wildcats offensive coordinator Sam Venuto told the Jerry Rice Award recipient, "You better be back here for the Walter Payton Award eventually."

Two years later, Robertson has followed the order. One of three players eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2014 Payton winner, the 6-1, 221-pound dual- threat has shredded opposing defenses throughout his redshirt junior campaign. He was named CAA Football offensive Player of the Week six times during the regular season while Villanova went 10-2 with only a pair of one-point losses. He was then named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

"One of the big differences from this year and last year was just the amount of weapons (on offense)," said Robertson, an economics major from North Jersey. Last season, he placed ninth in the Payton Award voting for the FCS's outstanding player. "As the quarterback, you need help out there, and they're really just giving it their all."

During the regular season, Robertson led the FCS in passing efficiency (182.99), throwing for 2,629 yards and 34 touchdown passes against only three interceptions. He rushed for 978 yards and nine touchdowns, and was responsible for 260 points - the most in the nation.

Robertson is on pace to graduate after the spring semester, but he plans to pursue a master's degree next year and direct the 'Nova offense again as a redshirt senior. He hopes to work on Wall Street in the future.

For now, he will keep doing his best work in an opponent's end zone.

In the 2014 Walter Payton Award voting, there were 160 ballots cast by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 15 in Philadelphia. The winners of the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) also will be feted that night. Awards voting, conducted by a national panel, is based on the regular season.

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