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Bobcats’ Moore, Grizzlies’ Gillman are Rice Award finalists

by MSU and UM Communications
| November 21, 2023 12:00 AM

BOZEMAN — Montana State offensive tackle Connor Moore and Montana running back Eli Gillman are two of 22 finalists for the 2023 Jerry Rice Award, which honors the top freshman in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision.

The only offensive lineman nominated, Moore has started all 11 games at left tackle for the Bobcats. The Milbury, Ohio, product helps anchor an offense that leads the FCS in scoring (40.5 points per game), second in rushing (293.4 yards per game) and seventh in fewest sacks allowed (0.84 per game). 

With 857 on the season, Gillman has rushed for more yards than any other freshman in the FCS and the third-most in all of D-I football. 

He’s also second among all players in the Big Sky Conference in rushing yards per game, averaging just under 78 per contest. He is No. 8 in the league in all-purpose yards with 103 game, and his 10 touchdowns tie him for fifth.. 

The Jerry Rice Award, first presented in 2011 and now in its 13th season, is named after legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice, who starred at Mississippi Valley State as part of his Hall of Fame career. Past recipients include Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp. All 13 FCS leagues, are represented by a Jerry Rice Award finalist. The winner, to be selected by a national voting panel, will be announced on Dec. 6 and honored at the FCS National Awards Banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas — the eve of the FCS championship game.

To be eligible for the award a player must be considered a freshman by his conference in his first or second academic year without surpassing four games played the previous season..

A third Big Sky player, Northern Colorado punter/kicker Hunter Green, is also a finalist.


Jerry Rice Award Finalists 

OFFENSE

MJ Flowers, Eastern Illinois, RB, 6-1, 195 (Big South-OVC Football Association) - 157 carries, 854 yards (5.4 ypc), 8 TDs; 35 receptions, 192 yards (11 games)

Eli Gillman, Montana, RB, 6-0, 206 (Big Sky Conference) - 152 carries, 857 yards (5.6 ypc), 10 TDs; 11 receptions, 103 yards (11 games)

Malachi Hosley, Penn, RB, 5-10, 185 (Ivy League) - 121 carries, 723 yards (6.0 ypc), 7 TDs; 22 receptions, 246 yards, 1 TD (9 games)

Jawarn Howell, South Carolina State, RB, 6-1, 215 (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) - 102 carries, 809 yards (7.9 ypc), 7 TDs; 10 receptions, 149 yards, 2 TDs (9 games)

Brendan Jenkins, Samford, WR, 6-1, 200 (Southern Conference) - 41 receptions, 312 yards, (7.6 ypc) 4 TDs (11 games

Anthony Johnson, Stony Brook, WR, 5-11, 190 (CAA Football) - 59 receptions, 714 yards (12.1 ypc), 3 TDs (10 games)

Jaylen King, Gardner-Webb, QB, 6-4, 200 (Big South-OVC Football Association) - 86 of 163 (52.8%), 992 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 118.0 pass efficiency; 392 rush yards, 5 TDs (8 games)

Gavin Lochow, Dayton, WR, 6-0, 195 (Pioneer Football League) - 35 receptions, 402 yards (11.5 ypc), 5 TDs; 17 kickoff returns, 412 yards (11 games)

Connor Moore, Montana State, LT, 6-5, 306 (Big Sky Conference) - Starting left tackle for offense that has averaged 40.5 points and 293.7 rushing yards per game (11 games)

Dom Nankil, San Diego, QB, 6-0, 180 (Pioneer Football League) - 109 of 186 (58.6%), 1,158 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 115.5 pass efficiency; 1 rush TD (8 games)

Beau Sparks, Utah Tech, WR, 5-11, 180 (United Athletic Conference) - 74 receptions, 723 yards (9.8 ypc), 7 TDs (11 games)

VJ Wilkins, Campbell, WR, 5-10, 160 (CAA Football) - 52 receptions, 546 yards (10.5 ypc), 4 TDs; 588 kickoff return yards (11 games)

Ty’Jarian Williams, Mississippi Valley State, QB, 6-3, 240 (Southwestern Athletic Conference) - 123 of 199 (61.8%), 1,197 yards, 6 TDs, 6 INTs, 116.3 pass efficiency; 2 rush TDs (10 games)

Griffin Woodell, UAlbany, RB, 5-10, 194 (CAA Football) - 143 carries, 694 yards (4.9 ypc), 6 TDs; 24 receptions, 231 yards, 4 TDs (12 games)

Luke Yoder, Lehigh, RB, 5-11, 195 (Patriot League) - 135 carries, 644 yards (4.8 ypc), 13 receptions, 87 yards (9 games)

 

DEFENSE

Carter Glassmyer, Saint Francis, LB, 6-1, 210 (Northeast Conference) - 89 tackles (50 solos), 6.5 TFL (21 yards), 2.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 QBH (10 games)

Jaylon Joseph, Lafayette, DE, 6-2, 240 (Patriot League) - 26 tackles (13 solos), 5.5 TFLs (31 yards), 4 sacks, 8 QBH, 1 BK (11 games)

Rasheed Lovelace, Nicholls, DT, 6-3, 310 (Southland Conference) - 25 tackles (6 solos), 2.5 TFL (3 yards), 1 sack, 1 INT (10 games)

Tye Niekamp, Illinois State, LB, 6-3, 230 (Missouri Valley Football Conference) - 74 tackles (42 solos), 9 TFL (26 yards), 1.5 sacks, 7 QBH, 7 PBU (11 games)

Aaron Sears, Stephen F. Austin, CB, 5-10, 190 (United Athletic Conference) - 55 tackles (26 solos), 1.5 TFL, 3 PBU (8 games)

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Hunter Green, Northern Colorado, PK/P, 6-3, 200 (Big Sky Conference) - 68 punts, 43.7 ypp, 70 long, 19 50+, 26 FC, 21 IN20; 9 of 12 FG (75%), 50 long (11 games)

Owen Zalc, Dartmouth, PK, 5-10, 160 (Ivy League) - 17 of 21 FG (81%), 47 long, 76 points (10 games)

 

 



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