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.
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 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.