Epic Final Season Lands Alabama A&M’s Glass Among 25 Finalists for Prestigious Walter Payton Award

CHICAGO, Ill. – Following the close of one the most impressive careers in program history, and certainly the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Alabama A&M graduate quarterback Aqeel Glass (St. Louis, Mo.) has been named as one of 25 finalists for the prestigious Walter Payton Award as announced by Stats Perform FCS on Monday, November 22.
 
Representing the National Player of the Year, this award is among the most prestigious at this level of college football, as is indicated by the legend it is named for. It also marks the second straight year that he has been a finalist, finishing 16th following the conclusion of the Spring 2021 campaign.
 
A legitimate National Football League (NFL) prospect, there were very few watchlists that Glass was not named to prior to the season and has since either been selected to participate in multiple postseason showcases or named to their watchlists – many of which have been a path to the highest level of professional football.
 
These include the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl, the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) and the Deacon Jones Award, the latter of which he won this past spring as the Black College Football Player of the Year.
 
Additionally, he became the first ever selection to the Inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl, a new postseason all-star game that will feature the top 100 draft-eligible players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities set to be played in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 19.
 
On top of those awards he was named a BOXTOROW Preseason All-American, SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and All-SWAC Preseason First-Team honoree.
 
Turns out each and every one of those organizations had the right thought as Glass delivered one of the single greatest campaigns in program history over the course of 10 games this fall. On the year he threw for 3,568 yards and 36 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 414 attempts.
 
Along the way he would break his own NCAA Division I Era program record for passing yards in a game twice, with 446 yards and four TDs at Grambling (10/2) and 462 and five scores at Texas Southern (11/13). He would follow the latter with 450 yards and a career-high tying six touchdowns in the final game of his career, a 52-24 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
 
Those would be among five games of at least 400 yards passing and Glass would notch at least one touchdown pass in every game – including nine with multiple scores and seven with at least four.
 
During the season he would also garner even more honors, picking up SWAC Offensive Player of the Week three times, those coming on September 6, November 15 and November 22. He would also add BOXTOROW National Player of the Week for the second time in his career, collecting that following a 42-41 opening week victory over South Carolina State.
 
While certainly one of the top players in the country, Glass will face stiff competition as he is one of 14 quarterbacks among the 25 finalists. That is a group that includes Spring 2021 winner Cole Kelley of Southeastern Louisiana and multiple previous finalists, including seven others from the spring.
 
Among the finalists, Glass is the only SWAC player in this year’s class.
 
A 50-member national media panel will select the 2021 Walter Payton Award winner which will be announced on Friday, January 7 on the eve of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship Game.
 
WALTER PAYTON AWARD FINALISTS
Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington, QB, (Big Sky)*
BJ Byrd, Morehead State (Pioneer)
Juwan Carter, QB, Norfolk State (MEAC)
Davis Cheek, QB, Elon (CAA)
Jake Chisolm, RB, Dayton (Pioneer)
Tim DeMorat, Fordham, QB, (Patriot)*
Dai’Jean Dixon, WR, Nicholls (Southland)
Xavier Gipson, WR, Stephen F. Austin
Aqeel Glass, Alabama A&M, QB, (SWAC)*
Malik Grant, RB, Sacred Heart (Northeast)
Geno Hess, RB, Southeast Missouri (OVC)
Quay Holmes, ETSU, RB, (Southern Conference)*
Keon Howard, QB, UT-Martin (OVC)
Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas, WR, (Southland)*
Isaiah Ifanse, RB, Montana State (Big Sky)
Cole Johnson, QB, James Madison (CAA)
Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana, QB, (Southland)*
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa (MVFC)
E.J. Perry, QB, Brown (Ivy)
Eric Schmid, QB, Sam Houston
Jason Shelley, QB, Missouri State (MVFC)
Xavier Shepherd, QB, Kennesaw State. (Big South)
Pierre Strong, Jr., RB, South Dakota State (MVFC)
Cameron Ward, QB, UIW (Southland)
Liam Welch, Samford, QB, (Southern)*
*Indicates Spring 2021 Finalist
 

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