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Above: Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe looks to pass the ball during the Hilltoppers’ 45-13 win over Charlotte on Oct. 30 at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Below left: WKU defensive end DeAngelo Malone reacts to a play during a Sept. 25 home game against Indiana.

Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe has been named a semifinalist for the 2021 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, it was announced Thursday. He is the first Hilltopper to ever earn this distinction.

Zappe is one of 15 players listed as a “Player to Watch” for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award list.

The watch list includes eight quarterbacks, four defensive players, two running backs and one wide receiver. Thirteen schools and seven conferences are represented. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder is the only other player in the group from a Group of Five school.

On Tuesday, Zappe became the second Hilltopper to be named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, joining Brandon Doughty during his record-setting 2015 season.

Through nine games, the Victoria, Texas, native has completed 308-of-441 passes (69.8%) for 3,688 yards, with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also adding three rushing scores. The 3,688 yards and 37 scores through the air lead the nation; 131 yards (Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong has 3,557) and three touchdowns (SMU’s Tanner Mordecai has 34) ahead of the No. 2 player in each category.

Zappe has thrown for three-plus touchdowns in all nine games, and 365-plus yards in eight of nine contests so far this season.

The six most recent winners of the Walter Camp Award are Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (2020), LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (2019), Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (2018), Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (2017), Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (2016) and Alabama running back Derrick Henry (2015).

The Walter Camp Player of the Year is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches and sports information directors. A list of five finalists will be announced on Dec. 2 and the winner announced live on Dec. 9 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.