FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota State running back TaMerik Williams was one of 35 players in the Football Championship Subdivision named to the preseason watch list for the 2023 Walter Payton Award, presented by FedEx Ground and given annually to the national offensive player of the year in Division I FCS college football.
Williams made the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team in 2021 after transferring from SMU and was an honorable mention to the All-MVFC team last year. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry on 99 attempts for 702 yards and eight touchdowns last season, the most of any returning NDSU running back. Williams has 1,474 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in 28 games as a Bison.
More players can join the watch list during the regular season before a national media panel selects the winner from a group of finalists. First awarded in 1987, the Payton has had past recipients such as Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cooper Kupp and Trey Lance move on to the NFL.
North Dakota State opens the season against Eastern Washington at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, Sept. 2.