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Towson's Terrance West wins inaugural Jerry Rice Award
Towson running back honored as most outstanding FCS college football rookie
Frisco, TX (Sports Network) - It was a season that almost wasn't for Towson freshman running back Terrance West, as he nearly redshirted and 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.
Friday night, West was honored with the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, which is awarded to the outstanding freshman in the FCS. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the award.
"It feels very good to be going to the Jerry Rice Award (presentation)," West said.
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).
Setting the Towson record for touchdown runs in a season, West had three four-touchdown games and helped the Tigers to a CAA Football title, the first in program history.
The Jerry Rice Award is named after the NFL Hall of Famer, who had an All-America career at Mississippi Valley State. Rice presented the award to West at Friday night's FCS awards dinner.
West was a runaway winner of the award, receiving 89 of the 132 first-place votes, 74 more than Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who finished second in the balloting.
In addition to West winning the Jerry Rice Award, his head coach, Rob Ambrose, was honored as the Eddie Robinson Award winner, presented to the FCS Coach of The Year.