Grizzly QB Johnson on Payton Watch List

Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson was named to the 20-player list

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — Three Big Sky Conference football players begin the 2014 season on The Sports Network’s Walter Payton Award watch list.

Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson was named to the 20-player list along with and Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams and Eagles receiver Cooper Kupp.

Adams finished second in 2013 Payton Award balloting after passing for 4,994 yards and 55 touchdowns as a sophomore. Kupp won the Jerry Rice Award for the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision after catching 93 passes and leading the nation with 1,691 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.

EWU went unbeaten in the Big Sky Conference and advanced to the FCS national semifinals.

Johnson passed for 3,387 yards and 32 touchdowns with just five interceptions last season as he helped Montana earn an at-large berth in the playoffs.

Earlier this week, the University of Montana’s Ellis Henderson and Zack Wagenmann were both named to The Sports Network’s 2014 preseason All-America second team.

A 6-0, 185-pound junior from Portland, Ore., Henderson was named to the prestigious preseason team as an “all-purpose” player. Last season he led the Grizzlies with team-highs of 43 receptions for 1,008 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns, and was also ranked among the top return men in the FCS.

Last season, Wagenmann, a 6-3, 255-pound senior defensive end from Missoula, was ranked among the Big Sky leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. He was ranked 27th in the FCS in tackles for loss, averaging 1.3 per game. He was fifth on the team with 64 tackles. He was a first team all-league selection for the second straight season. The 2014 preseason All-America squad included 101 players from 59 different schools, and all 13 FCS conferences.