SUBR'S Johnson wins Payton Achievement Award
BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern senior defensive back Danny Johnson was named the SWAC’s representative for the ninth annual Walter Payton Achievement Award Saturday at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge welcome banquet at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. The award was presented once again by Walter Payton’s son, Jarrett Payton.
Each year before the game, one player from each team participating in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge has been awarded with the honor.
The 13th annual game, which showcases and celebrates teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will feature the South Carolina State Bulldogs of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southern Jaguars of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday at Ace W. Mumford Stadium, and the game will be televised live on ESPN2.
The nominees included South Carolina State senior center Victor Ismael, Jr., redshirt senior linebacker Darius Leonard and redshirt senior linebacker Dayshawn Taylor, and Southern’s Johnson, senior defensive lineman Aaron Tiller and senior linebacker Kentavious Preston. Finalists were selected by coaches and administrators from each participating school.
First presented in 2008, the Walter Payton Achievement Award is named in honor of the late Walter Payton, a former All-American at Jackson State University (1971 to 1974) and Professional Football Hall of Fame running back who spent his entire NFL career (1975 to 1987) with the Chicago Bears. The award recognizes exemplary student-athletes, shining a light on character and embodiment of team spirit.
Past winners of the Walter Payton Achievement Award include, Ja-Quan Lumas, Bethune-Cookman and Charles Hughes, Alcorn State (2016); Temarrick Hemingway, South Carolina State, and Kevin Rucker Jr., Arkansas – Pine Bluff (2015); Alan Cruz, Alabama A&M, and Quentin Todd, North Carolina A&T State University (2014); Jonathan Pillow, Florida A&M University, and Kevin Eugene, Mississippi Valley State University (2013); Bobby Wenzig, Alabama State University, and Arlen McCray-Nibbs, Bethune-Cookman University (2012); Nesly Marcellon, Bethune-Cookman University, and Raheem Cardwell, Prairie View A&M University (2011); Kevin Green, Delaware State University, and Gary Hollimon, Southern University (2010); Van Phillips, Grambling State University, and Zachary Middleton, South Carolina State University (2009); Kevin Teel, Hampton University, and Marcus Smith, Jackson State University (2008).
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.