CHICAGO – ETSU running back Quay Holmes and Mercer quarterback Robert Riddle were among the 15 student-athletes to appear on the initial watch list Thursday for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, which honors the top freshman in the subdivision.
Holmes has been a spark for the Buccaneer offense as he has totaled 467 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in six games. Holmes has also added 14 receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown, along with accumulating 753 all-purpose yards.
The Powder Springs, Georgia, native has totaled three 100-yard rushing games this season, while registering rushing touchdowns in five of the Bucs’ first six games. Holmes’ three rushing touchdowns in last week’s 45-0 win over Gardner-Webb was tied for the second-most in ETSU single-game history.
Holmes ranks among the FCS national leaders in numerous statistical categories. The Buccaneer running back ranks fourth in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns (nine) and ranks 34th in rushing yards and all-purpose yards per game (125.5).
Although currently sidelined with an injury, Riddle made an instant splash under center for the Bears this season. Riddle completed 65 percent of his passes (66-of-101) for 851 yards and six touchdowns through four games, two of which he started. A capable runner as well, Riddle has three rushing touchdowns.
Riddle had his coming-out party on Sept. 15, leading the Bears to a win over then-No. 9 Samford with 316 passing yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing). He was named Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the performance. Riddle then followed that effort by setting a program single-game record of 347 passing yards against The Citadel on Sept. 22.
Riddle is the sixth Bear since 2013 to be recognized on the watch list, joining Payton Usher (2013), John Russ (2013), Alex Lakes (2014), Chandler Curtis (2014) and Kaelan Riley (2017).
Still a young award, the Rice is distinguished, with three of the first four recipients to complete their college careers playing in the NFL: former Towson running back Terrance West, Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp and Fordham running back Chase Edmonds.
A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on the award following the regular season.
Also this season, STATS 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.
For STATS' full release on the Rice Award, click here.