Villanova's Robertson captures 2012 Jerry Rice Award
Wildcats' quarterback honored as most outstanding FCS college football rookie
John Robertson finished the season rushing for 1,021 yards and 14 touchdowns
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
After a 2-9 campaign in 2011, Villanova
needed a spark to return to FCS relevance. At the start of this season, few
knew where that spark would come from, and it looked worse after the Wildcats
dropped their opening game against Temple.
But in that game, 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 and Robertson. On Monday night, he became
the second player to win the Jerry Rice Award, which is presented to the
outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision. Robertson
received 56 of the 145 first-place votes and 412 points, while Northern Iowa
quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen finished second in the voting with 361 points.
"Once I started getting in there and playing again, it reminded me of why I
love playing football so much - honestly," Robertson said. "Our whole team had
high hopes, we all knew people were coming back, we were just young the year
CAA Football has now produced back-to-back Rice winners, as Towson running
back Terrance West won the inaugural award last season.
Robertson helped fuel Villanova's turnaround as a dual-threat signal-caller.
He started 10 games in the regular season, rushing for 936 yards and 13
touchdowns and passing for 1,830 yards and 14 touchdowns. Add in the FCS
playoffs and he finished the season rushing for 1,021 yards and 14 touchdowns
and passing for 1,965 yards. The Wildcats had the best turnaround in the FCS
regular season - six wins - to go 8-3 and earn a share of the CAA title and
the conference's automatic playoff bid.
Robertson joked that it might be too much to ask for for him to raise his
rushing total every year, and that the key to his running abilities was
"I'm not sure," Robertson said as he laughed. "Kevin's (Monangai) with me back
there in the backfield; he needs a lot of carries, too. The coaches always
told me if you're going to run, run hard and don't be indecisive."
The Paramus, N.J., native is happy to have an opportunity to play close to
home, where his family can see just about every game.
"It's a great honor. Jerry Rice is a great player, so just to have my name put
on the award is really special," Robertson said. "I'm really grateful."
There were 145 ballots cast in the Jerry Rice Award voting. The results: