Jackson State

Shedeur Sanders wins Jerry Rice Award

Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders has been named the winner of the 2021 Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in FCS football.

Shedeur Sanders just picked up some more hardware from a productive freshman season.

Sanders has been named the 2021 recipient of the Stats Perform Jerry Rice Award, which is presented to the national freshman player of the year in Division I FCS.

A national media panel consisting of 50 selected the Rice Award after the regular season. Sanders won the trophy over runner-up Darius Hale of Central Arkansas from a group of 23 finalists. The Rice Award, is named for legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice who played his college football at Mississippi Valley State. Previous recipients include Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington), Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (Fordham) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (North Dakota State).

Shedeur Sanders exceeded expectations of many

Sanders joined his father, Deion Sanders, at Jackson State after completing a stellar career at Trinity Christian High School. He was named starting quarterback in the summer and helped lead Jackson State to its first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship squad since 2007. JSU will (11-1) face South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 18 in Atlanta.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Sanders, from Canton, Texas, completed 248 of 361 passes (68.7%) for 2,971 yards (over 200 in every game) and 28 touchdowns with only five interceptions – a 160.5 passer efficiency rating that ranked fifth in the FCS – and rushed for three more scores. He went over 3,000 yards and added a 29th TD pass in the SWAC championship game.

“I’m proud of him the way he’s played,” Deion Sanders told the media after the season, “the way he sees the field, the way he’s encouraged his teammates, the way he approaches practice daily, the way he gets on their butts when they not doing what they need to do. I’m just proud of his maturity and who he is on and off the field.”

Shedeur Sanders will be honored at the FCS National Awards Banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas, with a broadcast of the festivities to begin airing the next day on Bally Sports Regional Networks. Stats Perform also 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 Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Sanders is the first player from an HBCU to win the award. Hampton’s Elijah Burris and Texas Southern’s Andrew Body were the next highest finishers as they tied for 13th place.

Shedeur Sanders wins Jerry Rice Award
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