BOCA RATON – There’s a good chance you didn’t hear right tackle Brandon Walton’s name much this season.
And considering how offensive linemen are often only recognized when they get called for a penalty or blow an assignment, that silence is a badge of honor for standouts like himself.
The second-year starter had a phenomenal season, keeping the pocket clean in the passing game and paving the way for plenty of stat-sheet stuffing performances from running backs Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte.
Walton led an FAU offensive line that allowed only 14 sacks this season – second in Conference USA.
FAU’s ground game flourished thanks in part to Walton’s production out on the edge, leading the conference in rushing yards (2,913), rushing touchdowns (35) and yards per carry (5.1).
Pro Football Focus, a website that analyzes game film, graded him as one of the two best offensive tackles nationally in Week 11.
But despite his dominant play, Walton was left off C-USA’s All-Conference teams, instead landing with the honorable mentions. Those head-scratching omissions made him the obvious choice as Offensive Unsung Hero.
Tight end Harrison Bryant came into consideration for his blocking skills, which go largely under the radar because of how talented a receiver he is. But it’s hard to say a player is an “unsung” hero when he was recognized with first-team All-Conference honors.
Another Owls pass catcher that had a case for the award was Jovon Durante. In his first on-field season at FAU he led the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (873) and receiving touchdowns (5).
But after a hot start Durante’s play tailed off near the end of the season, taking him out of the conversation.
Walton was the clear-cut choice here and will be back next season manning either his usual right tackle spot or kicking over to the left side to fill in for Reggie Bain, who exhausted eligibility.