Jackson State football
Photo: Jackson State Athletics

Since being established more than a decade ago, no HBCU player has ever won the Jerry Rice Award.

That now changes after Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders was named on Monday the national FCS freshman of the year.

A 50-member, national media panel selected the Rice Award after the regular season, with Sanders winning over Darius Hale of Central Arkansas.

Also read: Shedeur Sanders warned months ago Jackson State was coming. It might be too late for the rest of SWAC

The Rice Award, created in 2011, is named for legendary Mississippi Valley State wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Sanders, a four-star recruit who committed to Jackson State short after his father, Deion Sanders was named head coach in September, led the Tigers to an 11-1 record and the program’s first SWAC championship since 2007.  The Tigers next face South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl on Saturday.

During the regular season, Sanders complete 68.7 percent of his passes for 2,971 yards and 29 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

He was also named SWAC Freshman of the Year and All-SWAC second team quarterback.

“Shedeur balled and every one of y’all knows what he did and what he represents as a freshman,” Deion Sanders said recently during comments critical that his son was not named All-SWAC first team quarterback.

Shedeur Sanders will be honored at the FCS National Awards Banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.


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