Belgium Jupiler Pro League Selects STATS as Official Tracking and Performance Data Provider

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LONDON – September 5, 2017 – STATS, the global leader in sports data and intelligence, has been chosen for the next three years to be the Official Tracking and Performance Data Provider for the Belgium Jupiler Pro League.

STATS will provide the league and its clubs with player tracking data through STATS SportVU and athlete monitoring insights via STATS Dynamix™, plus the industry’s highest detail of match coverage with STATS Tier 6+™ Event Data. STATS also will manage data collection, postgame certification and distribution of the official league statistics to the Jupiler Pro League’s media partners.

“We are very happy that after the Multimedia day organised last season by the Pro League, a collaboration between the Belgium Federation (URBSFA), The Pro League, All the Belgium Clubs and STATS has been signed,” said Pierre François, CEO of the Jupiler Pro League. “The collaboration with STATS, which has been ongoing since the first match of the season, has helped the Pro League Belgium clubs to progress in the management of their technical data and also the video capture and tracking of their games.”

Jupiler Pro League teams will benefit from the wealth of data STATS collects this season through SportVU and Tier 6+ event data. STATS SportVU, an optical player tracking system that tracks the positions of players and the ball 25 times per second, delivers an abundance of unique performance data. STATS SportVU enables coaches and analysts to make informed decisions with the most advanced football tracking data available. As part of the continued investment to advance team performance solutions, STATS recently commissioned a 12-month independent study to validate SportVU alongside other tracking systems to set a gold standard for tracking technology in team performance.

“Following the recommendation of our national coach, M. Roberto Martinez, the Jupiler Pro League clubs have decided for a complete consolidation of our information between the 16 clubs and their use by the technical staff of the Belgium Federation,” said François. “The Belgium Federation (URBSFA) is fully supporting this agreement and is convinced this is only a first step.”

Last year, STATS introduced Tier 6+ Event Data for football matches. Tier 6+ includes more than 2,700 separate events per game, which are provided to teams live with a timestamp, position (x,y), and player/team involved. Jupiler Pro League teams can utilize the live data through a variety of viewing platforms through the STATS API or XML feeds.

“We are honoured to establish this strategic partnership with the Jupiler Pro League to enhance the match analysis and player performance evaluation for all of its clubs,” said Kenneth Fuchs, CEO of STATS. “STATS is committed to continually investing in ways to support our world-class football partners though our advanced data capture products like SportVU and our data science-generated innovations to help our clients stay ahead of the game. Now, with access to millions of meaningful data points, we are confident that the Belgium Jupiler Pro League teams will greatly benefit and will be equipped to perform at their peak potential.”

STATS Top-Ranked Fantasy Football Projections Released Ahead of the 2017 NFL Season

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CHICAGO – August 18, 2017 – STATS, the worldwide leader in sports data and intelligence, has released its 2017 Fantasy Football Projections for fantasy football leagues. STATS weekly projections for the NFL have been ranked No. 1 by FantasyPros for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and second for the 2014 season.

The 2017 Fantasy Football Projections are designed for standard fantasy football leagues and analyze every statistic and variable in a comprehensive projection model.

“This has been a special time for us after winning the FantasyPros expert fantasy football accuracy contests in back-to-back seasons,” said Sean Koerner, Director of Predictive Analytics at STATS. “At STATS we pride ourselves on creating an industry-leading methodology for data analysis that has led to the highest velocity and accuracy of our fantasy projections and data.”

FantasyPros’ annual accuracy contest is conducted on behalf of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA). STATS has been the overall NFL leader for the last four years combined, as well as ranking first in fantasy baseball projections for the past three seasons.

STATS’ projection model has been perfected by Koerner and the STATS Data Science Team, powering award-winning fantasy projections and win probabilities in fan-engagement solutions for fantasy platforms, second-screen experiences, brand activations and more. The STATS Data Science Team, led by Director of Data Science Patrick Lucey, has been recognized for their work predicting outcomes in sports, including winning the Grand Prize research paper at the 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Conference and finishing second in 2017.

“While we are excited to release our pre-season fantasy football predictions, these are obviously extremely volatile,” said Koerner. “What makes weekly projection methodology so sound is how we break down week-to-week performance data, injuries, and news reports to offer the most accurate predictions for our fantasy platforms.”

For a more in-depth understanding of Koerner’s findings, visit the STATS blog for 2017 Position Tiers series ranking quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers and defense.

STATS Announces FCS Preseason All-American Team

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CHICAGO – July 31, 2017 – The offensive fireworks in the FCS were impressive last year, but they could be brighter and louder in 2017.

It will be an arduous task to stop the offensive skill-position players on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team that was announced Monday – perhaps even for the defensive players on the three-team, 97-player squad.

All 13 conferences and 55 schools had selections. The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most with 17, followed by CAA Football (14), the Big Sky (11), and the Ohio Valley and Southland (10 each). South Dakota State led with six individual selections, while North Dakota State and Sam Houston State had five apiece and 2016 FCS champion James Madison had four.

Quarterbacks Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State and Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington highlight the list, along with Fordham running back Chase Edmonds and South Dakota State’s dynamic receiving duo of tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Jake Wieneke.

The record-setting ability on offense is particularly impressive. Briscoe, who won the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award as the national offensive player of the year, passed for 57 touchdowns, a single-season record in the division, as well as 4,602 yards. He was so good that Gubrud and his FCS-record 5,160 passing yards were rendered to the second team.

Edmonds led the FCS in rushing yards per game (163.5), finishing with 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns on 257 carries. He has 5,285 career rushing yards entering his senior season, which puts him on pace to surpass former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson’s FCS all-time rushing record of 6,559 yards.

Goedert and Wieneke combined for 170 receptions, 2,609 yards and 27 touchdown catches last season. They caught passes from Taryn Christion, who lands on the third team. He’s joined there by Samford’s record-setter Devlin Hodges, who finished last season behind Gubrud and Briscoe with 4,088 yards and 36 touchdown passes.

The three offensive, defensive and special teams squads included 37 players who earned STATS All-America honors after the 2016 season. For more FCS coverage, head to FCS.football.

2017 STATS FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Jeremiah Briscoe, senior, 6-3, 220, Sam Houston State

RB – Chase Edmonds, senior, 5-9, 210, Fordham

RB – Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, junior, 5-9, 199, Albany

FB – Joe Protheroe, senior, 6-0, 225, Cal Poly

WR – Justin Watson, senior, 6-3, 210, Penn

WR – Jake Wieneke, senior, 6-4, 215, South Dakota State

TE – Dallas Goedert, senior, 6-5, 250, South Dakota State

OL – Justin Lea, senior, 6-4, 290, Jacksonville State

OL – Jacob Ohnesorge, senior, 6-3, 285, South Dakota State

OL – Brandon Parker, senior, 6-7, 299, North Carolina A&T

OL – Timon Parris, senior, 6-5, 310, Stony Brook

OL – Aaron Stinnie, senior, 6-5, 290, James Madison

DEFENSE

DL – Pat Afriyie, senior, 6-2, 235, Colgate

DL – Anthony Ellis, senior, 6-1, 245, Charleston Southern

DL – P.J. Hall, senior, 6-1, 280, Sam Houston State

DL – Darius Jackson, senior, 6-3, 237, Jacksonville State

LB – Nick DeLuca, senior, 6-3, 248, North Dakota State

LB – Darius Leonard, senior, 6-3, 220, South Carolina State

LB – Christian Rozeboom, sophomore, 6-2, 220, South Dakota State

LB – Brett Taylor, senior, 6-2, 230, Western Illinois

DB – Mike Basile, senior, 6-1, 200, Monmouth

DB – Marlon Bridges, sophomore, 6-1, 210, Jacksonville State

DB – Cole Reyes, senior, 6-2, 215, North Dakota

DB – Rob Rolle, senior, 6-0, 190, Villanova

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Lane Clark, senior, 5-11, 170, Tennessee State

P – Ian Berryman, junior, 6-0, 205, Western Carolina

LS – James Fisher, senior, 6-2, 216, North Dakota State

KR – John Santiago, junior, 5-9, 180, North Dakota

PR – Khris Gardin, senior, 5-7, 165, North Carolina A&T

AP – John Lovett, senior, 6-3, 225, Princeton

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Gage Gubrud, junior, 6-2, 195, Eastern Washington

RB – Corey Avery, senior, 5-10, 190, Sam Houston State

RB – Detrez Newsome, senior, 5-10, 210, Western Carolina

FB – Anthony Manzo-Lewis, senior, 6-2, 245, Albany

WR – Emmanuel Butler, senior, 6-3, 210, Northern Arizona

WR – Kamron Lewis, junior, 6-4, 195, Saint Francis

WR – Troy Pelletier, senior, 6-3, 205, Lehigh

TE – Andrew Vollert, senior, 6-5, 245, Weber State

OL – Daniel Cooney, junior, 6-8, 315, San Diego

OL – Ben Huss, senior, 6-2, 307, Duquesne

OL – Jacob Judd, senior, 6-3, 300, Western Illinois

OL – Stockton Mallet, senior, 6-3, 307, Central Arkansas

OL – Skyler Phillips, senior, 6-2, 322, Idaho State

DEFENSE

DL – Andrew Ankrah, senior, 6-4, 234, James Madison

DL – Miles Brown, junior, 6-1, 310, Wofford

DL – Kurt Holuba, senior, 6-4, 270, Princeton

DL – Greg Menard, senior, 6-2, 239, North Dakota State

DL – Ebenezer Ogundeko, senior, 6-3, 255, Tennessee State

LB – Solomon Brown, junior, 6-1, 220, Charleston Southern

LB – Garrett Dolan, senior, 6-2, 240, Houston Baptist

LB – Jared Farley, senior, 5-11, 221, Northern Iowa

LB – Shaheed Salmon, senior, 6-1, 226, Samford

DB – Tre Dempsey, senior, 5-10, 179, North Dakota State

DB – Kahlid Hagens, senior, 6-3, 200, UT Martin

DB – Davontae Harris, senior, 6-0, 200, Illinois State

DB – Tremon Smith, senior, 6-0, 186, Central Arkansas

DB – Kailik Williams, senior, 5-11, 185, The Citadel

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Griffin Trau, junior, 5-8, 180, Richmond

P – Keith Wrzuszczak, senior, 5-11, 202, Eastern Kentucky

LS – Hunter Winstead, senior, 6-0, 240, Liberty

KR – Shane Simpson, sophomore, 5-9, 185, Towson

PR – Londell Lee, senior, 6-2, 210, UT Martin

AP – Harold Cooper, senior, 5-9, 183, Rhode Island

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Taryn Christion, junior, 6-2, 215, South Dakota State

QB – Devlin Hodges, junior, 6-1, 213, Samford

RB – Dom Bragalone, junior, 5-11, 215, Lehig

RB – Anthony Philyaw, senior, 6-1, 205, Howard

RB – Deontez Thompson, sophomore, 6-0, 200, Richmond

FB – Kane Louscher, senior, 6-2, 245, South Dakota State

WR – Yedidiah Louis, senior, 5-8, 187, Sam Houston State

WR – Patrick Smith, senior, 6-0, 190, Tennessee State

TE – Jonathan Kloosterman, senior, 6-3, 245, James Madison

OL – Frank Cirone, senior, 6-3, 280, Charleston Southern

OL – Jamil Demby, senior, 6-5, 310, Maine

OL – Chris Durant, senior, 6-4, 310, William & Mary

OL – Justin Spencer, senior, 6-5, 305, Youngstown State

OL – Tyler Tezeno, senior, 6-4, 317, Sam Houston State

DEFENSE

DL – Abdullah Anderson, senior, 6-4, 295, Bucknell

DL – Keontre Anderson, senior, 6-3, 240, Jackson State

DL – Jonathan Petersen, senior, 6-1, 230, San Diego

DL – Jay-Tee Tiuli, senior, 6-4, 315, Eastern Washington

DL – Juwan Wells, junior, 6-2, 255, Liberty

LB – Mac Bignell, senior, 6-1, 205, Montana State

LB – George Odum, senior, 6-2, 190, Central Arkansas

LB – Chad Meredith, senior, 6-4, 244, Southeast Missouri

LB – Dale Warren, junior, 6-0, 215, Chattanooga

DB – Raven Greene, senior, 6-0, 200, James Madison

DB – Robbie Grimsley, junior, 6-0, 183, North Dakota State

DB – Danny Johnson, senior, 5-10, 195, Southern

DB – Taron Johnson, senior, 6-0, 180, Weber State

DB – Omari Williams, senior, 6-1, 190, Samford

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Alex Probert, sophomore, 5-9, 170, Liberty

P – Jacob DeMaio, senior, 6-5, 205, Weber State

LS – Danny Garza, senior, 6-0, 230, Houston Baptist

KR – Deion Holliman, senior, 5-9, 188, Missouri State

PR – Terry Wallen, senior, 5-11, 182, Drake

AP – Justice Shelton-Mosley, junior, 5-10, 195, Harvard

STATS enables new levels of football analysis with its newest AI-powered solution

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LONDON – July 25, 2017 – STATS, the global leader in sports data and intelligence, has launched an innovative new product, STATS Edge. STATS Edge is a search and analytics application powered by artificial intelligence that enables football teams to instantly find video clips and analyse complex patterns in a game with more speed and accuracy than ever before. With the power of AI-driven analytics at their fingertips, analysts can instantly and effectively assess in detail a team’s strengths and weaknesses while focusing on various aspects of the game.

Drawing on STATS’ rich history in data collection and analysis, STATS Edge will utilise data from the Premier League, Championship, La Liga, Ligue de Football Professionnel, Serie A, Bundesliga, Qatar Stars League, Champions League and more. STATS Edge will initially be available in five languages.

STATS Edge unifies football data and video through an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface, developed in close partnership with top English, French and Spanish clubs through a design-thinking methodology. This allows everyone in the football club – from match analysts to the manager – to analyse, annotate and share insights on the same platform.

“It’s increasingly difficult for clubs to process and analyse all the relevant data points available and distil complex information into timely, accurate insight,” said Kenneth Fuchs, STATS’ CEO. “On top of that, traditional analytics don’t always speak the visual language of players and coaches. We’ve applied computer vision and artificial intelligence to bring new levels of context and efficiency to teams already using video for their match preparations. It’ll save them time, allow them to develop proprietary results, and help get them the information to make, share and track the best decisions.”

The STATS Edge search engine allows managers and analysts to use their football vocabulary within a search box to find relevant video clips in seconds across entire leagues or competitions, regardless of the complexity of their queries. They can link a multitude of events and playing styles to search, which allows the execution of more than 1,000 search combinations.

The ability to search across players, teams, styles, set plays and more using natural language is a substantial step forward in accessing complex tracking data in a simple interface. For example, STATS Edge lets users quickly find and retrieve all of a team’s counter attacks which led to goals, a player’s key events such as shots or crosses in the last five games, or passes into a custom defined zone on the pitch. This use of analytics also helps clubs assess the value of a transfer target in order to reach a fully informed decision before making an investment.

Once clips are identified, STATS’ proprietary Exemplar Search, built by its award-winning data science team, can instantly find clips of similar plays at the click of a button. By using AI algorithms, the platform reads the combination of player and ball trajectories as well as events in any clip to retrieve the respective Exemplar Search results.

STATS Edge further builds on the power of AI to provide exciting and intuitive analytical features, starting with set plays and transitions. By dynamically specifying a zone on the field and other variables, the manager and analyst instantly accesses in-depth analysis and all corresponding videos. For example, in set-play analysis of an opponent, one can identify target zones and link them to the most dangerous players and their shooting or goal efficiency. In transition analysis, one can analyse the key players involved, as well as their most typical behaviour after winning or losing the ball.

STATS Fantasy Baseball Projections Ranked No. 1 by FantasyPros for 2016 Season

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STATS fantasy projections topped the FantasyPros accuracy rankings again. FantasyPros ranked STATS fantasy baseball season long projections No. 1 for the 2016 MLB season. The honor marks the third consecutive year STATS ranked first in the study for fantasy baseball.

FantasyPros compared projections of 10 statistical sources to the season-ending results of 398 professional players. STATS finished in the top three in accuracy for eight of the ten sources.

“STATS methodology is built on analytical rigor and accuracy, allowing us to make balanced projections across a range of statistical categories for players at all career stages,” said Sean Koerner, STATS Director of Predictive Analytics. “We are thrilled to be at the top of this list yet again and look forward to seeing how our projections fare as the 2017 baseball season progresses.”

The No. 1 ranking continues a string of “Most Accurate” fantasy projection honors for STATS. STATS projections for the NFL were ranked highest for the 2016 and 2015 seasons, and are the overall leader for the last four seasons combined.

Bobby Sylvester, NBA and MLB Correspondent for FantasyPros, calls the achievement led by Koerner, Corey Schwartz and the STATS Data Science Team “extraordinary” in the world of sports projections. “This is his (Koerner) third consecutive season finishing #1 in this study. He has also finished first in our football accuracy competition out of over 130 competitors back to back years as well. In other words, he appears to know what he’s talking about when it comes to player predictions.”

For the full analysis and methodology of the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Accuracy Rankings, visit FantasyPros.

theScore Partners with STATS for $100K Team Tourney Challenge

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CHICAGO, March 13, 2017 – theScore, Inc. (TSX Venture: SCR) (“theScore”) today opened bracket-picking for the $100K Team Tourney Challenge – the exciting new contest developed with STATS takes place during this month’s men’s college basketball championship tournament.

Available only on theScore app for iOS and Android, theScore $100K Team Tourney Challenge delivers the same bracket-picking fun users know and love from bracket contests, but allows friends to also team-up and take on other groups of fans. At the end of the 63-game tournament, the group of friends with the highest average score walks away with $100K, while there is also a $25K prize for the best overall individual bracket from the contest.

Entries for the contest opened last week, with bracket picking getting underway earlier today.

John Levy, CEO and Founder of theScore, said: “We’ve already been blown away by the response to theScore $100K Team Tourney Challenge and now fans can really get in the action by making their picks for a shot at the big prize. In addition to our new unique contest, fans can also use theScore app to stay on top of all the latest scores, stats, news and upsets throughout the entire tournament.”

Developed in partnership with STATS, the global leader in sports intelligence, theScore $100K Team Tourney Challenge layers a unique social element onto the tried-and-tested format of bracket-picking.

“theScore $100K Team Tourney Challenge is a great example of a media leader connecting with the authentic passion arising from exciting events like this,” said Richard Henderson, Chief Revenue Officer, STATS. “STATS is proud to partner with theScore to create the kind of shared but uniquely personalized fan experiences that drive true engagement.”

Play theScore $100K Team Tourney Challenge NOW by downloading theScore app from the App Store or Google Play. Terms and conditions will apply. Please review official contest rules before entering.



 

STATS Selected as Finalists in 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Research Track

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CHICAGO – February 21, 2017 – STATS, the world’s leading sports data and technology company, announced today that it has been named a two-paper finalist in the 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference research competition. Of the eight finalists, two research papers co-authored by STATS’ Director of Data Science Dr. Patrick Lucey are in the running for the research track grand prize.

The papers, entitled “Body Shots: Analyzing Shooting Styles in the NBA Using Body-Pose Attributes” and “Data-Driven Ghosting Using Deep Imitation Learning,” detail methods for applying powerful modern machine learning techniques to better understand how athletes interact with space and how this affects team performance. With these advanced techniques, professional teams can more fully quantify, analyze and compare team and individual behaviors than ever before, using unparalleled modeling capabilities to maximize the value of their data and projections.

“STATS has long been known as the leader in sports data and technology and this signals how swiftly we have extended our industry leadership in data science,” said Lucey. “We are thrilled that two of our trailblazing papers have been recognized as finalists at this year’s MIT competition, and we look forward to introducing this data and modeling system into our future products for football and basketball.”

STATS hopes to add to its accolades in the research and academic community at the 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, one year after winning the top research paper at the 2016 conference, with the paper “The Thin Edge of the Wedge: Accurately Predicting Shot Outcomes in Tennis Using Style and Context Priors.”

Lucey will be a part of the teams presenting both papers at this year’s conference, taking place in Boston on March 3rd and 4th. An industry panel will select the final winner on the basis of the paper and the presentation at the 2017 Conference.

wTVision partners with STATS to provide the official statistics of Africa Cup of Nations

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LISBON, PORTUGAL – February 4, 2017 – wTVision is the official statistics provider for the Total Africa Cup of Nations, currently underway in Gabon with the final scheduled to take place on February 5. The match statistics of the biennial African football competition are being collected through FootballStats CG, wTVision’s software application that gathers, manages and compares football data, including player and team performance data through STATS SportVU® tracking system.

This comprehensive work comprises data gathering and management, detailed statistical reports, including tracking data for the official web match center of the competition, support to football commentators and the official graphics for the matches in Port Gentil and Oyem (two of the four host cities). After previous successful collaborations, wTVision renewed its partnership with STATS to deliver the best statistical experience during this high-profile continental tournament.

wTVision deployed a team comprised by 15 experienced professionals to Gabon, four of them dedicated to the operation of STATS SportVU tracking system. “In an operational structure this size and in a competition as important as CAN 2017, the tracking data is fundamental to provide a state-of-the-art broadcast to the audience and is an invaluable support to the professionals covering the competition,” states Alexandre Guedes, wTVision’s Project Manager for the African tournament.

Roy Clements, STATS Sales Director added, “wTVision are considered to be one of the best global broadcast graphic support companies and STATS are extremely proud to once again partner with them in delivering a best-in- class service for the fans and media following the tournament.”

STATS #1 Ranked Fantasy Projections

STATS Fantasy Projections Ranked #1 by FantasyPros for Second Consecutive Season

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Chicago – January 19, 2017 – STATS, the world’s leading sports data and technology company, has been ranked #1 for the accuracy of its NFL weekly projections by FantasyPros for the second consecutive year.

FantasyPros’ annual accuracy contest is conducted on behalf of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA). STATS projections for the NFL were ranked highest for the 2016 and 2015 seasons, as well as placing second in the 2014 accuracy standings. STATS has been the overall leader for the last four years combined.

In addition to ranking tops for football, STATS was also ranked by FantasyPros to have the most accurate fantasy baseball projections for the 2015 and 2014 season. STATS was also recognized at the FSTA’s annual winter conference in Las Vegas, winning awards for the accuracy of its football and baseball projections in a head-to-head competition among more than 100 industry leaders.

“At STATS, we are proud to have the highest velocity and accuracy of our fantasy projections and data, which is why we analyze every statistic and variable in our projections models,” said Sean Koerner, Director of Predictive Analytics at STATS. “It is an honor to be recognized as having the most accurate football and baseball fantasy projections over each of the last two seasons.”

STATS prediction modeling that has been perfected by Koerner and the STATS Data Science team powers the award-winning fantasy projections and win probabilities in fan engagement solutions for fantasy platforms, second-screen experiences, brand activations and more. The STATS Data Science team, led by Director of Data Science Patrick Lucey, has been recognized for their work in predicting outcomes in sports including winning the Grand Prize research paper at the 10th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Conference.

Meet the STATS fantasy team at the FSTA Winter Conference in Nashville from January 23-24 to discuss the biggest topics and trends impacting the industry.

STATS FCS Awards

Briscoe Wins STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, Schult Takes Home Buchanan as NFL Stars Fete FCS Athletes at STATS Awards Banquet

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Frisco, Texas – Jan. 19, 2017 – The stars came out in full force on the eve of the FCS national title game as football legends like Jerry Rice presented the subdivision’s annual honors – including Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter, giving away the illustrious STATS FCS Walter Payton Award to Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe – at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet.

The event marked the 30th anniversary of the Payton Award, known as the Heisman Trophy of the FCS, as well as the 30th year of the Eddie Robinson Award for the FCS’ coach of the year, also taken home by a Bearkat – K.C. Keeler. Grambling alum and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams stood in for his former mentor in handing the hardware to the Sam Houston State coach, who led his team to an undefeated (11-0) regular season.

Briscoe set an FCS single-season record with 57 touchdown passes and was the subdivision’s regular-season leader in passing yards (4,096) and passing rating (187.0) while sitting out the fourth quarter of seven games as his Bearkats often overwhelmed the competition. Briscoe beat out Eastern Washington’s dynamic duo of Cooper Kupp – last year’s Payton winner who added another 1,700 yards and 17 TDs to bolster his case as the FCS’ best wide receiver of all time – and Gage Gubrud, who exploded onto the scene in his first year as a starter with an FCS-record 5,160 passing yards by the time the postseason ended.

The STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, presented by two-time Buchanan winner and former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro linebacker Dexter Coakley, was won by Northern Illinois’ Karter Schult. The defensive end led Division I with 17 sacks and tied for second with a school-record 24 tackles for loss. Sam Houston State was denied the major awards trifecta with Bearkats defensive end P.J. Hall coming in second, while Missouri State linebacker Dylan Cole came in third.

In the first award of the night handed out, Rice gave away his eponymous honor, reflecting the FCS’ top freshman, to Duquesne running back A.J. Hines. Hines ran for a frosh-high 1,291 yards and 13 scores to lead the Dukes to an 8-3 mark.

The STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award went to Eastern Kentucky quarterback Tyler Swafford. Swafford, who holds a 4.0 GPA, was recently named a George J. Mitchell Scholar, a prestigious honor that will see him spend the next year working on a postgraduate degree in Dublin. He plans to pursue a career as an international human rights attorney. Quentin Burrell – the great-grandson of Eddie and Doris Robinson, a former Notre Dame defensive back and current Grambling assistant – presented the award.

The banquet, which had over 150 people in attendance, was hosted by Gary Reasons, the former New York Giants linebacker and Northwestern State alum who is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

STATS took over the presentation of the Payton, Robinson, Buchanan and Rice awards this year, inheriting them from Mickey Charles, the former CEO of The Sports Network. Charles was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his three decades of work bringing attention to the FCS.