Payton Award winner Hodges has NFL goal

CRAIG HALEY (STATS FCS Senior Editor=)
The Associated Press

(STATS) - Former Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges isn't projected to be selected in the NFL Draft this year, but that doesn't mean he won't have a productive pro career.

The 2018 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner can gain inspiration from past national offensive players of the year who were undrafted yet went on to significant success. Players like Tony Romo and Brian Finneran in the NFL and Dave Dickenson and Bo Levi Mitchell in the CFL.

As a senior, the 6-foot, 207-pound Hodges led the FCS with 4,283 passing yards and accounted for 40 touchdowns (32 passing, eight rushing) in 11 games, claiming the 32nd Payton. The three-time Southern Conference offensive player of the year also set the FCS all-time record with 14,584 career passing yards.

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"I've got a good, quick release," he said. "I'm good at extending plays and finding throwing lanes."

The most recent Payton Award winner to be drafted was Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp, picked by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round of the 2016 draft.

Twelve past Walter Payton Award winners were selected in the NFL Draft:

Kenny Gamble, RB, Colgate (1987) - Kansas City Chiefs, 1988, 10th round (No. 251 overall)

Dave Meggett, RB, Towson (1988) - New York Giants, 1989, 5th (132)

John Friesz, QB, Idaho (1989) - San Diego Chargers, 1990, 6th (138)

Walter Dean, RB, Grambling (1990) - Green Bay Packers, 1991, 6th (149)

Doug Nussmeier, QB, Idaho (1993) - New Orleans Saints, 1994, 4th (116)

Steve McNair, QB, Alcorn State (1994) - Houston Oilers, 1995, 1st (3)

Jerry Azumah, RB, New Hampshire (1998) - Chicago Bears, 1999, 5th (147)

Adrian Peterson, RB, Georgia Southern (1999) - Chicago Bears, 2002, 6th (199)

Brian Westbrook, RB, Villanova (2001) - Philadelphia Eagles, 2002, 3rd (91)

Armanti Edwards, QB, Appalachian State (2008-09) - Carolina Panthers, 2010, 3rd (89)

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois (2013) - New England Patriots, 2014, 2nd (62)

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (2015) - Los Angeles Rams, 2016, 3rd (69)

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