Eastern Washington QB Eric Barriere Wins 2021 Walter Payton Award as FCS Offensive Player of the Year

Often referred to as the Heisman Trophy of the FCS, Eric Barriere edges out Cole Kelley and Quay Holmes to take home the 2021 Walter Payton Award.

Eric Barriere throws against NAU
Source: Erik Smith - EWU Athletics

It looks like second time’s the charm for Eric Barriere when it comes to bringing home the Walter Payton Award for the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football. Last year Barriere was edged out by Southeastern Louisiana’s Cole Kelley by six votes.

This season Barriere threw for over 500 yards in four of EWU’s thirteen games and totaled 5,070 yards, second in the nation to Cole Kelley. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 46 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and an average of 390 passing yards per game. His performance helped propel Eastern Washington to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the FCS Playoffs.

The 2021 season is Barriere’s final season in an Eastern Washington uniform. Barriere finished third all-time in the FCS in total offense with 15,394 yards, third in passing with 13,809 yards, and tied for fourth in career passing touchdowns with 121.

With Barriere winning this award, Eastern Washington became the first school to have four Payton Award winners. Eric Barriere joins quarterbacks Eric Meyer (2005) and Bo Levi Mitchell (2011) along with wide receiver Cooper Kupp (2015).