15 FCS freshmen nominated to Jerry Rice Award Watch List

CRAIG HALEY (STATS FCS Senior Editor=)
The Associated Press

(STATS) - Make room for the new guys.

So many freshmen have stepped into FCS lineups and quickly made a difference with their team's success this season. The best of the best in the subdivision will claim the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, named for the legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver and presented in the postseason to the FCS freshman player of the year since 2011.

On Thursday, 15 players were nominated to the watch list for the 2018 Rice Award.

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The nominees, listed alphabetically by last name:

Christian Benford, Villanova, DB, Fr., 6-0, 190, Randallstown, Maryland

Statistics: 32 tackles (26 solo), 1 TFL, 2 INTs, 1 PBU (5 games)

Jack Cook, Dayton, QB, R-Fr., 6-0, 195, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania

Statistics: 95 of 163, 1,290 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs; 274 rushing yards, 3 TDs (6 games)

Jon Copeland, UIW, QB, Fr., 6-0, 201, Argyle, Texas

Statistics: 86 of 172, 1,329 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs; 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD (5 games)

Josh Davis, Weber State, RB/PR, R-Fr., 5-9, 185, Sandy, Utah

Statistics: 92 carries, 551 yards, 4 TDs; 177 all-purpose yards per game (4 games)

Bailey Fisher, Tennessee Tech, QB, Fr., 6-0, 195, Clayton, Georgia

Statistics: 86 of 166, 1,100 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs; 223 rushing yards (6 games)

Alijah Jackson, Robert Morris, RB, R-Fr., 5-9, 165, Paramus, New Jersey

Statistics: 79 carries, 373 yards, 4 TDs, 93 all-purpose yards per game (5 games)

Brian Jenkins Jr., Alabama A&M, WR, Fr., 5-8, 160, Daytona Beach, Florida

Statistics: 28 receptions, 332 yards, 1 TD; 106.5 all-purpose yards per game (6 games)

Ulonzo Gilliam, UC Davis, RB, R-Fr., 5-9, 185, Merced, California

Statistics: 70 carries, 316 yards, 6 TDs; 21 receptions, 192 yards, 2 TDs (5 games)

Malik Hamm, Lafayette, DE, Fr., 6-3, 240, Baltimore

Statistics: 22 tackles (16 solo), 7 TFL, 3 Sacks, 2 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF (5 games)

Robby Hauck, Montana, S, R-Fr., 5-10, 179, Missoula, Montana

Statistics: 58 tackles (21 solo), 1 TFL, 1 PBU (6 games)

Dev Holmes, Albany, WR, Fr., 5-8, 153, Troy, New York

Statistics: 28 receptions, 587 yards, 4 TDs (5 games)

Quay Holmes, ETSU, RB, R-Fr., 6-1, 216, Powder Springs, Georgia

Statistics: 107 carries, 467 yards, 8 TDs; 15 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD (6 games)

Chris Kolarevic, Northern Iowa, LB, R-Fr., 6-0, 223, Traverse City, Michigan

Statistics: 54 tackles (17 solo), 2 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU (5 games)

Robert Riddle, Mercer, QB, R-Fr., 6-2, 202, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Statistics: 66 of 101, 851 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs; 3 rushing TDs (4 games)

Caleb Snead, Campbell, WR, R-Fr., 6-3, 200, Lynchburg, Virginia

Statistics: 17 receptions, 341 yards, 4 TDs (6 games)

Still a young award, the Rice is distinguished, with three of the first four recipients to complete their college careers playing in the NFL: former Towson running back Terrance West, Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp and Fordham running back Chase Edmonds.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on the award following the regular season.

Also this season, STATS 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.

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