Kupp named as Jerry Rice Award winner
EWU's Cooper Kupp, seen here hauling in the Eagles' first touchdown last Saturday against Jacksonville State, has been selected by The Sports Network as the recipient of the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in FCS football.
Bursting onto the scene with the best season by a freshman wide receiver in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision history, EWU receiver Cooper Kupp has been selected by The Sports Network as the recipient of the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in FCS football.
The award was presented Monday, Dec. 16 at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
"It's a great honor to receive an award named after the best receiver of all-time," Kupp said. Kupp's parents traveled to Philadelphia to accept the award for their son who is preparing for Saturday's FCS semifinal playoff game in Cheney against Towson University from Maryland.
Kupp, a 2012 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, has already earned first team All-America honors for a season that has included 85 catches for 1,567 yards and 21 touchdowns. All three are FCS records for a freshman, and his streak of 14 games with a touchdown catch is an FCS record.
"It has been a special season," Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said. "He spends time in the film room like a quarterback. You have to kick him out of the weight room and make sure he stays balanced as a human because of the passion he has for football."
The Jerry Rice Award is named for legendary NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State. Voting for the awards, conducted by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries, is based on the regular season.
Kupp redshirted the 2012 season at Eastern before opening his career with five catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in his debut against Oregon State on Aug 31, 2013. Eastern won that game 49-46 over the 25th-ranked Beavers, marking just the fourth time a FCS school has defeated a ranked NCAA Football Bowl Sub-Division squad.
"He took that redshirt year and took his talents to a new level," added Baldwin. "He has been doing that all his life."