• Steven Grandy / WCU

Desmond Reid Named to 2022 Jerry Rice Award Watch List

Western Carolina freshman running back Desmond Reid was today listed on the initial watch list for the 2022 Stats Perform Jerry Rice Award, which is presented to the national freshman of the year in college football’s championship subdivision. Reid is one of 25 first-year players on this year’s watch list and the only one from the Southern Conference.

Reid is the sixth Catamount since 2014 to grace the watch list for the nation's top freshman, joining LB Daniel Riddle (2014), P Ian Berryman (2015), QB Tyrie Adams (2016), DB Ronald Kent Jr. (2018), and DB Andreas Keaton. Adams finished fourth in the national voting back in 2016, the highest finish for a Catamount nominated for the national award.

The Miami Gardens, Fla. native has seen action in six games and leads the team with 453 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He ran for a team high 69 yards and a touchdown in his collegiate debut at Charleston Southern. Two weeks later in WCU’s home opener against Presbyterian, Reid gashed the Blue Hose defense for a career-best 175 yards and two scores.

Reid also has 10 receptions on the season for 86 yards including a season-long 30-yard snag at Georgia Tech.

The Rice Award, now in its 12th season, is named after legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. Past recipients include Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington), Miami Dolphins running back Chase Edmonds (Fordham) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (North Dakota State).

To be eligible for the Jerry Rice Award, a freshman must be in his first or second academic year and can’t have surpassed four games played in the previous academic year – similar to the NCAA’s regular redshirt rule. More players can join the watch list before a national media panel selects the winner following the regular season.

Also this season, Stats Perform will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Western Carolina (3-4, 1-3 SoCon) returns home for back-to-back home games, first hosting The Citadel Bulldogs (1-5, 1-3 SoCon) Saturday at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium on Heroes Day. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/CatamountSports) and Twitter (@Catamounts, @CatamountsFB).

2022 Stats Perform Jerry Rice Award Watch List


Ashur Carraha, Stonehill (Northeast)

Cade Chambers, Indiana State (MVFC)

Gevani McCoy, Idaho (Big Sky)

Reese Poffenbarger, UAlbany (CAA)

Noah Walters, North Alabama (ASUN)

Running Back

Ryan Butler, Princeton (Ivy)

Karl Ligon, Southern (SWAC)

Joshua Pitsenberger, Yale (Ivy)

Sam Franklin, UT Martin (Ohio Valley)

Desmond Reid, Western Carolina (Southern)

Jerrell Wimbley, Stephen F. Austin (WAC)

Wide Receiver

Seth Anderson, Charleston Southern (Big South)

Vinson Davis, Charleston Southern (Big South)

Makai Jackson, Saint Francis (Northeast)

Kam Thomas, Austin Peay (ASUN)

Tight End

Josh Cuevas, Cal Poly (Big Sky)

Defensive Line

Kevin Spelman, Valparaiso (Pioneer)


Kohner Cullimore, Southern Utah (WAC)

Kaiden Jones, Nicholls (Southland)

Max U’Ren, North Carolina Central (MEAC)

Mason Woods, Towson (CAA)

Defensive Back

Wedner Cadet, Georgetown (Patriot)

Rex Connors, UC Davis (Big Sky)

Adrian Maddox, Alabama State (SWAC)


Patrick Rohrbach, Montana (Big Sky)

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