John Robertson has done it. The electrifying quarterback was awarded the Walter Payton Award, an accolade given to the most outstanding player in the FCS.
The junior quarterback was given the trophy at tonight’s FCS Awards Banquet. Robertson had an outstanding season as a signal caller. Usually known for his running skills, this season he proved that he was an adept passer. He threw for 2,846 yards and 35 touchdowns. He made very few mistakes this season, only throwing three interceptions. On the ground, Robertson added another 1,078 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, affirming his reputation of being a dual-threat quarterback.
He helped lead the Wildcats to a #6 seed of the FCS playoffs with his dynamic playmaking abilities. Villanova fell to Sam Houston State, as Robertson stood on the sidelines with a concussion. Regardless, it did not take away from his excellent season. He beat out two other finalists for the award, quarterbacks Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington and Idaho State’s Justin Arias.
He becomes the third recipient of the Walter Payton Award in Villanova history, the most for any FCS program. The other two winners that came before Robertson were Brian Westbrook in 2001 and Brian Finneran in 1997. Both Westbrook and Finneran went on to enjoy lengthy, successful careers in the NFL. Westbrook spent most of his days with the Philadelphia Eagles, before spending his last year with the San Francisco 49ers. As for Finneran, his start in the NFL was slower than Westbrook’s. Finneran ventured out of the NFL early in his career, moving to NFL Europe. He eventually found his way back to the NFL and joined the Atlanta Falcons, where he became a key slot receiver.
The last time Villanova had a quarterback contend for the Walter Payton was back in 2002. Brett Gordon finished second to current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
With one more year of eligibility left, opposing teams have to shiver when they see Villanova is on their schedule. John Robertson is primed for another big year and we’ll have to wait awhile before he and the Wildcats take the field.
Jerry Rice Award, First Team All-American, Walter Payton Award – can’t wait to see what else he adds to his résumé.