23 FCS Freshmen are 2021 Jerry Rice Award Finalists
FCS

23 FCS Freshmen are 2021 Jerry Rice Award Finalists

Twenty-three finalists were announced on Monday for the 2021 Stats Perform FCS Jerry Rice Award, which is presented to the national freshman player of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.

The Rice Award, now in its 11th season, is named for the legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver. Past recipients include Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington), Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (Fordham) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (North Dakota State).

The Jerry Rice Award finalists:

Nate Bennett, WR, Portland State (Big Sky)

Statistics: 50 receptions, 616 yards, 4 TDs (11 games)

Andrew Body, QB, Texas Southern (SWAC)                                                 

Statistics: 151 of 253 (59.7 percent), 2,222 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs; 643 rush yards, 6 TDs (10 games)

Elijah Burris, RB, Hampton (Big South)

Statistics: 139 carries, 640 yards, 6 TDs; 12 receptions, 78 yards (11 games)

Jacari Carter, WR, Merrimack (Northeast)

Statistics: 89 receptions, 713 yards, 8 TDs (11 games)

James Conway, LB, Fordham (Patriot)

Statistics: 131 tackles (61 solo), 6 TFL (14 yards), 1 INT, 1 PBU, 4 FF, 1 FR (11 games)

Demeatric Crenshaw, QB, Youngstown State (MVFC)

Statistics: 97 of 156 (62.2 percent), 791 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs; 599 rush yards, 7 TDs (9 games)

Rodney Dansby, LB, Houston Baptist (Southland)

Statistics: 131 tackles (52 solo), 3.5 TFL (6 yards), 3 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR (11 games)

Zevi Eckhaus, QB, Bryant (Northeast)

Statistics: 233 of 371 (62.8 percent), 2,392 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs; 242 rush yards, 2 TDs (11 games)

Thor Griffith, DT, Harvard (Ivy)

Statistics: 31 tackles (15 solo), 10.5 TFL (60 yards), 5 sacks, 1 FF (10 games)

Collin Guggenheim, RB, Nicholls (Southland)

Statistics: 145 carries, 930 yards, 10 TDs; 6 receptions, 33 yards (9 games)

Darius Hale, RB, Central Arkansas (AQ7)

Statistics: 198 carries, 1,015 yards, 17 TDs; 15 receptions, 111 yards, 1 TD (11 games)

Andreas Keaton, S, Western Carolina (Southern)

Statistics: 45 tackles (29 solo), 3 INTs, 6 PBU (11 games)

Tyler King, LB, Stony Brook (CAA)

Statistics: 95 tackles (50 solo), 12,5 TFL (28 yards), 1.5 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF, 1 QBH (11 games)

RJ Martinez, QB, Northern Arizona (Big Sky)

Statistics: 136 of 220 (61.8 percent), 1,713 yards, 14 TDs, 2 INTs; 187 rush yards, 5 TDs (8 games)

Drae McCray, WR, Austin Peay (OVC)   

Statistics: 53 receptions, 867 yards, 8 TDs (11 games)

Bryce Norman, LB, Southeast Missouri (OVC)

Statistics: 66 tackles (32 solo), 7.5 TFL (25 yards), 1.5 sacks, 4 QBH, 3 FF (11 games)

Dominick Poole, CB, The Citadel (Southern)

Statistics: 51 tackles (27 solo), 1 TFL (1 yard), 2 INTs, 9 PBU, 1 QBH (11 games)

Shedeur Sanders, QB, Jackson State (SWAC)

Statistics: 248 of 361 (68.7 percent), 2,971 yards, 28 TDs, 5 INTs; 3 rush TDs (11 games)

Josiah Silver, DE, New Hampshire (CAA)

Statistics: 80 tackles (42 solo), 20.5 TFL (88 yards), 12.5 sacks, 6 FF, 1 FR (11 games)

Tyson Thompson, WR, Houston Baptist (Southland)

Statistics: 57 receptions, 562 yards, 2 TDs; 152.5 all-purpose ypg, KOR TD, PR TD (10 games)

C.J. Tillman, LB, Campbell (Big South)

Statistics: 56 tackles (25 solo), 5 TFL (7 yards), 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 TD (11 games)

Sy’Veon Wilkerson, RB, Delaware State (MEAC)

Statistics: 220 carries, 848 yards, 8 TDs; 4 receptions, 24 yards (11 games)

Jalyn Witcher, WR, Presbyterian (Pioneer)

Statistics: 80 receptions, 1,120 yards, 12 TDs (11 games)

A 50-member, national media panel will select the Rice Award winner, who will be announced on Dec. 13. To be eligible for the award, a freshman can’t have surpassed four games played in the previous academic year – similar to the NCAA’s regular redshirt rule.

Also this season, Stats Perform will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.