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LORMAN, Miss. — Of the 25 members on the Preseason Walter Payton Award Watch List, two came from the Alcorn State University football program including seniors Noah Johnson and De’Shawn Waller.

Johnson and Waller were the only student-athletes from the SWAC on the list.


Johnson, the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, was previously named a 2019 Preseason All-America Third-Team honoree by HERO Sports. Waller was a 2019 Preseason All-America Second-Team selection by STATS FCS, and Third-Team by HERO Sports.

Johnson was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award last season. It came after he earned 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, 2018 SWAC Championships Offensive MVP and was one of four finalists for the HBCU Player of the Year award.

Johnson threw for 2,207 yards and 15 touchdowns last year and rushed for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranked third in the nation in rushing yards per carry (7.5) and 16th in completion percentage (. 621). In three seasons, Johnson ranks eighth all-time in school history in touchdown passes (30), ninth in passing yards (4,018) and 10th in rushing yards (1,867).

Waller earned a spot on the HBCU All-America Team, the SWAC All-Conference First-Team and was the SWAC Newcomer of the Year in 2018. He rushed for 1,215 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year.

Waller finished eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game (121.5 ypg), 15th in total rushing yards, 19th in all-purpose yards per game (133.0), 19th in rushing yards per carry (6.5), 20th in rushing TD’s, 23rd in scoring (7.8 pg.) and 25th in total touchdowns (13). Waller rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of the last eight games including the SWAC Championship where he tallied a game-high 177 yards and three touchdowns.

Both Johnson and Waller were 2019 Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections. Waller was named the Top Running Back in the SWAC by HBCU Gameday in its preseason preview.

Courtesy: ASU Athletics

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