BOZEMAN — A day after being named a STATS preseason first-team All-American, Montana State junior Troy Andersen has landed on the initial watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which is given at the end of the season to the most outstanding offensive player in the FCS.
Andersen, a Dillon product, is expected to begin fall camp this week playing linebacker but with a contributing role on offense. He is named to the Payton list as an “athlete.”
Andersen received the same positional designation on the STATS preseason team on Tuesday.
Andersen (6-4, 228) was recently selected to the preseason All-Big Sky Conference team at the fullback position.
Originally recruiting to MSU to play defense, Andersen played mostly running back as a true freshman in 2017, rushing for 515 yards and five touchdowns. He was named the Big Sky’s freshman of the year.
Last season as a quarterback, Andersen amassed 1,412 rushing yards (a league record for QBs) with a single-season school-record 21 rushing touchdowns.
The Bobcats finished last season with an 8-5 record and made the postseason for the first time since 2014. They defeated Incarnate Word in the first round of the postseason for their first playoff win since 2012.
Andersen’s 1,927 career rushing yards rank 12th in school history.
Fourth-year Montana State coach Jeff Choate indicated that Andersen's role continues to evolve.
“I’ve talked about this,” Choate said in a press release. “But we have to open our minds to not putting Troy in a box.
“We’re going to use him in ways that he’ll be able to positively impact any given game the most. He could line up at running back, he’ll take some snaps, he may play with Isaiah (Ifanse) in two-back sets, he may line up at tight end, he may split out as a receiver.”
Andersen is one of five Big Sky Conference players to begin the season on the Payton watch list. The others are quarterbacks Jake Maier of UC Davis, Eric Barriere of Eastern Washington and Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, as well as Portland State tight end Charlie Taumoepeau.
Montana State is scheduled to conduct its first practice of fall camp Friday afternoon.