Davis Grad Kupp Wins Jerry Rice Award
Jerry Rice has reason to take a liking to Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
But the legendary Hall of Fame receiver may have to realize Kupp could soar past the prodigious statistics that he produced in college.
On Monday, the Davis High School grad became the third recipient of the Jerry Rice Award, which honors the FCS national freshman of the year. Rice was on hand at The Sports Network's national awards banquet Monday night to present the trophy.
Kupp won by the biggest margin in the three-year history of the award, gaining 80 of the 147 first-place votes and 557 points from a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox finished second with 259 points, while Sacred Heart quarterback R.J. Noel and Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz tied for third with 202 points each.
Kupp is the first wide receiver to win the Rice Award. Towson running back Terrance West was the inaugural recipient in 2011 and Villanova quarterback John Robertson won last year.
As a redshirt freshman this year, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Kupp has had a breakout season unlike any other in FCS history by a rookie wide receiver. In the regular season, he caught 77 passes and 18 touchdowns for the Big Sky Conference champion Eagles, setting a national freshman record with 1,378 receiving yards. The native of Yakima, also caught at least one touchdown pass in all 12 of the Eagles' games - a consecutive game record not just for freshmen, but all FCS receivers.
With EWU's two playoff wins this month, Kupp has pushed the touchdown streak to 14 games. His 85 receptions, 1,567 receiving yards and 21 TD catches have never been reached by a freshman previously.