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  • Steven Grandy / WCU

WCU’s Desmond Reid Among 25 Finalists for the Jerry Rice Award

Western Carolina freshman tailback Desmond Reid was among 25 national FCS finalists today announced for the 2022 Jerry Rice Award, which is presented to the national freshman of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.

The lone SoCon representative on the annual watch list back on Oct. 20, Reid is the only freshman from the conference to be listed among the finalist for the award, now in its 12th season overall.

Reid is among a list of six Catamounts to grace the national watch list during their freshman campaign – and the fifth to advance to the final voting list. Quarterback Tyrie Adams finished a program-best fourth in the national balloting in 2016 with Reid’s defensive teammate Andreas Keaton finishing tied for 17th a season ago.

Seeing action in 10 of the team’s 11 games this season, Reid rushed for 826 yards on 119 carries with four touchdowns on the ground. He added 21 receptions for 212 yards and his first career receiving score in the upset win over No. 17/15 Chattanooga, amassing 1,038 all-purpose yards this season with five scores. Reid finished fourth in the SoCon this season in both rushing and all-purpose yards gained. His 826 rushing yards are the second-most by a WCU freshman tailback all-time, trailing just Darrell Lipford's 983 yards as a freshman back in 1974, while his seasonal average of 6.9 yards per carry ranks as the best by a Catamount freshman all-time.

A product of Miami Gardens, Fla., and a strong candidate for SoCon Freshman of the Year plaudits, Reid eclipsed the 100-yard mark three times in his rookie campaign. He rushed for a career-best 175 yards and two TDs against Presbyterian while also eclipsing the century mark with 129 yards against The Citadel and 112 yards in the home win over Wofford. He was listed as an honorable mention for the FedEx Ground FCS National Freshman of the Week from Stats Perform after his second-straight 100-yard rushing performance against Wofford.

The Jerry Rice Award is named after the legendary wide receiver who starred at Mississippi Valley State as a part of his Hall of Fame career. Past recipients include NFL players Cooper Kupp, Chase Edmonds, and Trey Lance. 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 – like the NCAA’s regular redshirt rule.

A national media panel will select the winner, with voting based on the regular season. The recipient will be announced on Dec. 7 and honored at the FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the FCS national championship game.

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 the FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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