First presented in 2008, the Walter Payton Achievement Award is an honor given annually to a player from each school participating in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
Named in honor of the late Chicago Bears running back, three nominees from each school were selected by a committee consisting of academic advisers and coaches. Winners will be determined via online fan voting before the Sept. 5 game. Voting opens on July 20 and ends on Aug. 21, with the winners announced on Friday, Sept. 3.
Here are the nominees from each school:
Delaware State nominees
Andre Caroll, DT
Hometown: Neptune, N.J.
Major: Sport Sciences
The senior co-captain and 2009 All-MEAC second-team selection led Delaware State in total tackles (56) and tackles for loss (7) and was third on the team with 2.5 sacks. The New Jersey native was also a proud member of the MEAC All-Academic team in his sophomore and junior years. "Andre has worked himself into one of the top defensive linemen in the MEAC," said coach Al Lavan. "He leads by example -- in the weight room, film room and classroom. He's an outstanding representative of Delaware State University and our football program."
Kevin Green, LB
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Green joined the Hornets in the summer of 2009 after two seasons at Purdue. He had a solid campaign, recording 27 tackles (19 solo) in 10 games, and he is credited with a forced fumble and fumble recovery. The former North Chicago high school star has made quick work in a short amount of time. Said Lavan: "Kevin is a big-time athlete who performed well last year despite joining us right before the start of the 2009 season. I have no doubt Kevin will be a force on our defense this season. He's a fine example of the type of young man we desire for our team."
Larrone Moore, WR/KR
Hometown: Hyattsville, Md.
Major: Sports Management
Moore was second on the Hornets in receptions (33) and receiving yards (315) in 2009, but his impact is bigger than just numbers. The former Northwestern High School multi-sport star was also an integral part of DSU's special teams. He was third in the MEAC and 16th in FCS in kickoff returns in '09. A three-year member of DSU's indoor and outdoor track and field teams, the speedster is a five-time IC4A champion (in the 100- and 200-yard dashes) and a member of the school's 12th-ranked 4x400-meter relay team in 2009. "Larrone is a superior athlete with game-breaking speed," said Lavan. "He has shown the ability and discipline to compete at a high level in three sports. His future is as bright as anyone in our league."
Southern University nominees
Jason House, DB
Hometown: Laurel, Miss.
Major: Mechanical Engineering
In his first year, House led the FCS in interceptions with 10 and was the team's fifth-leading tackler in 2009 with 47. "Not only was he a first-team All-American, he has a GPA over 3.0 in mechanical engineering," first-year coach Stump Mitchell said of House, who was a little-used wide receiver in the previous season. "He's a true student-athlete."
Gary Hollimon, RB
Hometown: Gulfport, Miss.
The former quarterback switched to running back last season and finished with 346 yards on 51 rushing attempts -- including a team-high six rushing TDs. "Hollimon had an outstanding first year after making the switch from quarterback to running back and averaged six yards a carry," said Mitchell. "I look for him to be a force to be reckoned with this season."
Ramon Chinyoung, OL
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Therapeutic Recreation
Chinyoung returns as the unquestionable leader of the offensive line. A first-team All-SWAC selection in 2009, he helped the Jags lead the SWAC in total offense (365.9 yards per game), second in passing offense (239.8) and fourth in rushing offense (126.1). "Chinyoung is an outstanding leader on and off the field," says Mitchell, "and he brings one of the hardest work ethics that you have seen."
Donald Hunt is a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune. His HBCU Notebook on ESPN.com can be found here. Got a story idea for Donald? E-mail him at email@example.com.