Jerry Rice Award -- History
||Chase Edmonds, RB
||Cooper Kupp, WR
||John Robertson, QB
Terrance West, RB
2014, Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham
Edmonds never once made it appear he was a true freshman on the FCS level. The fourth recipient of the Jerry Rice Award jumped to the front of the rookie class from the first week of the 2014 season. Although the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, product didn't start the first game of Fordham's Patriot League championship season, he rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns and finished with 300 all-purpose yards in the opening win. He became the starter afterward and went on to rush for at least 100 yards nine times in the regular season and finish it with 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns on 252 carries, ranking eighth nationally in both rushing yards per game (128.3) and all-purpose yards per game (165.5). He then ran away with the Rice Award, receiving 95 of the 160 first-place votes and 625 points in the voting, with South Dakota State wide receiver Jake Wieneke finishing second and Sam Houston State defensive end P.J. Hall third among the 25 finalists. Edmonds was the only freshman to be named a finalist for the 2014 Walter Payton Award, which honors the outstanding player in the FCS.
2013, Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
With Jerry Rice on hand to present the award, Kupp became the first wide receiver to win the FCS national freshman of the year honor. Kupp won by the biggest margin in the three-year history of the award, gaining 80 of the 147 first-place votes and 557 points from a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox finished second with 259 points, while Sacred Heart quarterback R.J. Noel and Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz tied for third with 202 points each. As a redshirt freshman, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Kupp had a breakout season unlike any other in FCS history by a rookie wide receiver. In the regular season, he caught 77 passes and 18 touchdowns with 1,378 receiving yards for the Big Sky Conference champion Eagles. The native of Yakima, Wash., also caught at least one touchdown pass in all 12 of the Eagles' games - a consecutive game record not just for freshmen, but all FCS receivers. In EWU's two playoff wins, Kupp pushed the touchdown streak to 14 games, and he went on to finish his 15-game season with 93 receptions, 1,691 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns - all FCS records for a freshman receiver.
2012, John Robertson, QB, Villanova
After a 2-9 campaign in 2011, Villanova needed a spark to return to FCS
relevance. The Wildcats found it in their opening game when redshirt freshman
quarterback John Robertson came off the bench and played well, which led to him
getting the starting nod from coach Andy Talley moving forward. The move paid
dividends for Villanova when Robertson went on to become the second winner of
the Jerry Rice Award as the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship
Subdivision. The native of Paramus, N.J., received 56 of the 145 first-place
votes and 412 points, while Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen
finished second with 361 points and Appalachian State wide receiver Sean Price
third with 312 points. Villanova posted the biggest turnaround in the FCS
regular season - six wins - and earned a share of the CAA Football title and
the conference's automatic playoff bid. Including a playoff loss, Robertson
rushed for 1,021 yards and 14 touchdowns on 189 carries and completed 152-
of-253 pass attempts for 1,965 yards and 14 touchdowns with seven
interceptions. As a redshirt junior, Robertson added more FCS Awards hardware by winning the 2014 Walter Payton Award.
2011, Terrance West, RB, Towson
It was a season that almost wasn't for Towson freshman running back Terrance
West, as he nearly redshirted and then sat out the first game of the season.
But, after his redshirt was lifted, teams couldn't keep the 5-foot-11, 222-
pound freshman out of the end zone. West rushed for 27 touchdowns in the
regular season, ranking No. 1 in the FCS.
West was honored with the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, which is awarded to the
outstanding freshman in the FCS.
A Baltimore native, West didn't earn a scholarship until halfway through his
superb season and before that the talented freshman struggled to even find a
place to play, at times nearly going to Clemson, Maryland and Morgan State.
"We got him in the door and all he wanted was an opportunity," Towson coach Rob
Ambrose said. "He wasn't on scholarship, he was here all spring and most of
this semester not on scholarship. I told him, 'I'm going to give you the same
deal I give everybody else, you'll get what you earn.'"
West made his season debut the second week of the season and rushed for two
touchdowns in a win against Villanova. It was the first of nine multi-touchdown
games for West (he finished with 29 total scores after a playoff loss to
Lehigh, rushing for 1,294 yards on 194 carries).
Setting the Towson record for touchdown runs in a season, West had three four-
touchdown games and helped the Tigers to the CAA Football title, the first in
program history. The Cleveland Browns selected West in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.