Philadelphia, Pa. – Harvard offensive tackle Will Whitman is one of 18 freshman football players nationwide named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List, honoring the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision and presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the first Jerry Rice Award winner after the regular season. The legendary wide receiver, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, will be on hand at the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas, to present the award.
Whitman, a 6 foot 6, 280-pound tackle from Lexington, Ky., is the only lineman on either side of the ball to be named to the watch list.
The first freshman offensive lineman to start under veteran head coach Tim Murphy, Whitman has played every snap in the Crimson's first five games, with 30 knockdowns including 10 in a single game at Cornell. He allowed just one sack in that time for a Crimson team that averages 32.0 points with nearly 400 yards of offense per game. Whitman and the offensive line are protecting the nation's second-ranked passer in Colton Chapple (169.25 efficiency rating).
The team is coming off consecutive 40-point games with 41 at Cornell on Oct. 8 and 42 against Bucknell last weekend. Harvard put forth 223 rushing yards and five passing touchdowns in just 35 minutes last weekend against a Bison team that entered play as the nation's second-ranked rushing defense.
The Crimson, undefeated in the Ivy League, returns to The Stadium this Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against Princeton.
The list of nominees:
Will Whitman, Harvard, OT, 6-6, 280
The first freshman offensive lineman to start under veteran head coach Tim Murphy, Whitman played every snap in the Crimson's first five games, with 30 knockdowns. He allowed just one sack in that time.
Mike Crutcher, Missouri State, FS, 6-2, 198
Collected at least seven tackles in six of Missouri State's first seven games for a team-high 59 overall. The redshirt freshman had 13 tackles against then- No. 4 North Dakota State.
Michael Dallas II, Morgan State, LB, 6-0, 205
Had 11 tackles versus Bowling Green and forced two fumbles against Howard. The redshirt freshman corralled 43 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, in Morgan State's first seven games.
Michael German, Tennessee State, QB, 6-2, 215
German was elevated to starter in October and went a combined 60-for-89 for 798 yards and six touchdowns in his first three games. In that time, the redshirt freshman extended his run of passes without an interception to 131.
D'Vonte Grant, North Carolina A&T, LB, 5-11, 215
Active redshirt frosh totalled a team-high 43 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, one sack, one interception, one pass break-up, two quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the Aggies' first six games.
R.J. Harris, New Hampshire, WR, 6-0, 194
The redshirt freshman has had some monster games in leading all FCS first-year players in receptions per game (6.6) and receiving yards per game (97.2) through UNH's 4-2 start. He had five touchdowns among his 33 receptions.
David Johnson, Northern Iowa, RB, 6-3, 214
A redshirt freshman, he led all first-year players with 510 rushing yards on 109 carries, with six touchdowns through UNI's 5-1 start. He also caught 11 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
Eriq Lewis, Old Dominion, CB, 6-0, 180
Totaled 32 tackles (23 solos) in ODU's 5-2 start, but created the most havoc with eight passes break-ups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Dillon Lucas, Villanova, LB, 6-0, 215
Consistent freshman had between six and 10 tackles in each of Villanova's first seven games. He collected a sack versus Monmouth.
Brady Measom, Southern Utah, WR, 5-9, 165
Part of a deep receiving corps at Southern Utah, Measom had 37 receptions for 409 yards and two touchdowns in his first seven games. Also had 10 punt returns for a 14.6-yard average.
Greg McGhee, Howard, QB, 6-3, 200
Mobile left-hander was a threat as a passer (123 of 223 for 1,197 yards and 10 touchdowns) or a runner (275 yards) through his first seven games.
Jake Miller, Eastern Washington, Punter, 6-5, 205
A transfer from Washington State, Miller has come on strong during his redshirt freshman season, averaging 43.1 yards per punt through seven games, with five punts of at least 50 yards.
Ross Scheuerman, Lafayette, RB, 6-0, 190
Through six games, the all-around standout ranked 26th in the FCS with 137.5 all-purpose yards per game. He's been a threat as a runner, receiver and kick returner.
Austin Sumner, South Dakota State, QB, 6-5, 230
The Jackrabbits have turned their offense over to the redshirt freshman, who averaged 299.5 passing yards in his first four starts. He was 37-for-54 for 354 yards and four touchdowns against No. 2 Northern Iowa.
Jordan Talley, Eastern Washington, RB, 5-10, 180
The defending FCS champion Eagles have relied on the true freshman, who had a team-high 350 rushing yards as well as 18 receptions in their first seven games.
Terrance West, Towson, RB, 5-11, 222
Go West. North, South and East, too. He led all FCS freshmen with 11 touchdowns through Towson's surprising 5-1 start. The two-time national freshman of the week had 450 rushing yards on 6.4 yards per carry.
Brandon White, San Diego, WR, 6-3, 195
Has become a big part of the Toreros' offense, catching 34 balls for 427 yards and four touchdowns through their first seven games.
Chuck Dibilo, Princeton, RB, 5-11, 200
In a crowded Princeton backfield, he asserted himself with a 147-yard game against Hampton and a team-high 401 rushing yards through the first half of the Tigers' season.