FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The preseason honors continue to roll in for two of Northern Arizona's scoring threats as junior wide receiver Emmanuel Butler and sophomore quarterback Case Cookus were both named to the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List, announced Wednesday by the organization.
Cookus, a finalist last year, finished fifth overall in voting. Six of the top seven vote-getters in last year's national balloting return this season. Eleven of the 22 players on the watch list were finalists a season ago.
The watch list includes 10 running backs, eight quarterbacks and four wide receivers. All 13 FCS conferences had at least one nominee, with the most coming from the Big Sky with four. NAU is the only school with two players on the watch list.
The STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List can undergo revision during the 2016 season. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote following the regular season.
Emmanuel Butler, Northern Arizona, WR, Jr., 6-4, 220
Butler used his size to his advantage during his sophomore season as he grabbed 64 receptions for a school single-season record 1,208 yards (18.9 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns, which tied a school single-season mark. His talents led him to All-Big Sky First Team honors and All-America recognition. Butler registered a career-high 216 yards in a road victory against Stephen F. Austin. He finished the season ranked nationally in the FCS in receiving touchdowns (2nd), receiving yards (4th), and receiving yards (6th).
Case Cookus, Northern Arizona, QB, So., 6-4, 200
Cookus shined in his first season at NAU, finishing his first season as the 2015 STATS FCS Freshman Player of the Year. He set a new NCAA FCS Freshman record with 37 touchdown passes. He ranked second in the FCS in both touchdown passes and passing efficiency (184.9), and was third in completion percentage (68.9). He tallied 3,117 yards – the sixth most in a single season by an NAU quarterback. Cookus threw an FCS single game best seven touchdowns against Northern Colorado and six against Sacramento State.
For a complete list of honorees click here.