PHILADELPHIA -- Somewhere on the drive from Stony Brook to Philadelphia for the 26th Football Championship Subdivision Awards ceremony Monday, Miguel Maysonet received a text from former Seawolves teammate Brock Jackolski.
The two of them arrived on the Stony Brook campus together for the 2010 season after transferring from Hofstra when it dropped football, and they helped lead SBU to its first FCS playoff berth in 2011 before Jackolski graduated. With Maysonet's college career approaching its grand finale as one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award as FCS player of the year after a second straight playoff season, Jackolski reached out to his old running mate.
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"That meant a lot coming from Brock because he's a great friend, and I always looked up to Brock as a player and as a person."
The voters went a different way, choosing Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke as the Payton winner with 531 points, including 72 first-place votes. Maysonet finished second (284, 13), and Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein finished third (197, 11). Heinicke passed for 4,158 yards and 35 touchdowns and rushed for 11 TDs to become the ninth straight QB to win the honor.
"I wasn't disappointed," Maysonet said. "I had a feeling Taylor would win it all. Being here was a humbling feeling. It was exciting to be in the last three. In my mind, that's winning in my eyes to be here with these two great football players. Awards come and go . . . This award isn't going to define who I am and what I did for Stony Brook football."
Maysonet was accompanied by his mother, Yolanda Santana, and older brother Luis, as well as several Stony Brook officials, including athletic director Jim Fiore and coach Chuck Priore, who finished seventh in coach of the year voting. They came to honor his accomplishments, including 1,964 rushing yards and 23 TDs during SBU's 10-3 season and career totals of 5,110 yards rushing and 56 TDs.
But they appreciated Maysonet for more than his statistics. Recalling how Maysonet began his sophomore season as the third-string running back, Priore said, "It came down to who he is as a person . . . He's worked at being better at everything he does. Over the three years and the success he's had, his personality hasn't changed."
When Maysonet arrived, Stony Brook had won its first Big South title, but by the time he left, the Seawolves had four conference titles and had reached the second round of the FCS playoffs twice.
"Since I've gotten here, we just blew up," Maysonet said. "I hope Stony Brook can go even further and be more well-known, so when people say, 'Stony Brook,' they're like, 'Yeah, I know they have a great football program.' I'm happy I was a part of that."