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Football: 3 Named to Walter Payton Watchlist

Three Villanova seniors were named to the Walter Payton trophy watch list. Ben Ijalana, Matt Szczur and Chris Whitney will all be considered for the honor, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Two Villanovans have won the award since 1987, when it was first given: Brian Finneran (1997) and Brian Westbrook (2001).

It may be an uphill battle for Ijalana since the award has never been given to an offensive lineman. All previous winners played Quarterback, Runningback or Wide Receiver. Ijalana is also on the Outland Trophy watch list, however, which is an award for the best college football interior lineman.

Matt Szczur is coming off of a tremendous performance last year, including the award for Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Championship game in Chattanooga. Last season he amassed 2,239 all- purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. Szczur was a write-in candidate on last year's Payton ballot and finished 21st in voting, while 2008 winner, Armanti Edwards won the award in back-to-back years.

Three finalists will be named in December and a winner chosen before the 2010 National Championship.

Villanova football was also recently ranked #1 in the Preseason Poll.