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24 FCS freshmen named to Jerry Rice Award watch list

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - So many freshmen have stepped into FCS lineups and quickly made a difference with their team's success this season, and the best of the best were nominated to the Jerry Rice Award watch list on Tuesday.

The Rice Award is named for the legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver and presented since 2011 to the Division I subdivision's freshman player of the year.

The 24 players nominated to the watch list, listed alphabetically by last name:

John Bachus III, QB, UT Martin: 135 of 236 (57.2 percent), 1,890 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs; 74 carries, 143 yards, 3 TDs (9 games)

Omar Brown, CB, Northern Iowa: 52 tackles (31 solo), 3 TFL, 5 INTs, 3 PBU (9 games)

Tyrese Chambers, WR, Sacred Heart: 36 receptions, 639 yards, 3 TDs (7 games)

Ian Corwin, QB, Drake: 115 of 196 (58.7 percent), 1,321 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs (7 games)

Jacob Dobbs, LB, Holy Cross: 60 tackles (50 solo), 6 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 2 QBH, 3 FR, 1 FF (9 games)

Nick Eaton, DE, UC Davis: 46 tackles (28 solo), 9.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 QBH, 1 FR, 3 FF (9 games)

Metrius Fleming, WR/RS, Tennessee Tech: 38 receptions, 542 yards, 2 TDs; 14 carries, 90 yards, 2 TDs; 27.7 KO return average, 1 TD; 116.3 all-purpose yards per game (9 games)

Tra Fluellen, S, Houston Baptist: 77 tackles (40 solo), 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 2 FR (9 games)

Ailym Ford, RB, Chattanooga: 202 carries, 1,071 yards, 9 TDs; 122.7 all-purpose yards per game (9 games)

Xavier Gipson, WR/KR, Stephen F. Austin: 37 receptions, 619 yards, 4 TDs; 21.6 KO return average; 109.7 all-purpose yards per game (9 games)

Devron Harper, WR/RS, Gardner-Webb: 31 receptions, 499 yards, 2 TDs; 23.9 KO return average, 1 TD; 137.7 all-purpose yards per game (9 games)

Tyler Hudson, WR, Central Arkansas: 38 receptions, 687 yards, 8 TDs (9 games)

Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, WR, Alabama A&M: 32 receptions, 583 yards, 8 TDs (8 games)

Hendrix Johnson, WR, Northern Arizona: 44 receptions, 700 yards, 5 TDs (9 games)

Kevin Johnson, RB/KR, Norfolk State: 63 carries, 393 yards, 6 TDs; 11 receptions, 169 yards, 3 TDs; 105.4 all-purpose yard per game (8 games)

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State: 109 of 159 (68.6 percent), 19 TDs, 0 INTs, 186.1 passing efficiency; 88 carries, 595 yards, 8 TDs (9 games)

Jalen Leary, RB, Stetson: 111 carries, 694 yards, 6 TDs; 102 all-purpose yards per game (7 games)

Will McElvain, QB, Northern Iowa: 134 of 243 (55.1 percent), 1,948 yards, 17 TDs, 3 INTs; 85 carries, 236 yards, 1 TD (9 games)

Keegan Shoemaker, QB, Lafayette: 172 of 277 (62.1 percent), 2,108 yards, 12 TDs, 12 INTs; 99 carries, 248 yards, 3 TDs (9 games)

Jake Stebbins, LB, Cornell: 41 tackles (20 solo), 6.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF (7 games)

Jeff Undercuffler, QB, UAlbany: 179 of 311 (57.6 percent), 2,389 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs; 147.3 passing efficiency (9 games)

Tristan Wheeler, LB, Richmond: 76 tackles (36 solo), 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FF (9 games)

Javon Williams Jr., RB, Southern Illinois: 110 carries, 659 yards, 13 TDs; 8 receptions, 194 yards, 2 TDs; 1 TD pass; 106.8 all-purpose yards per game (9 games)

Hajj-Malik Williams, QB, Campbell: 105 of 177 (59.3 percent), 1,496 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs; 101 carries, 418 yards, 5 TDs; 1 TD reception (8 games)

Still a young award, the Rice is distinguished, with three of the first four recipients to complete their college careers going on to 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 in the postseason, 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.

Updated November 5, 2019

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