CHICAGO – Dec. 11, 2018 –– A year ago, Josh Davis watched Weber State’s best season ever from the sideline after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game.
This year, the Wildcats’ top two returning running backs suffered injuries, and that created an opportunity Davis was more than ready to take on as a redshirt freshman.
Davis helped Weber State to another banner campaign, leading all FCS freshmen in rushing and all-purpose yards while earning the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, which honors the top rookie in college football’s Division I subdivision. He ran away with the national voting as if he was dodging would-be tacklers, outdistancing runner-up Jon Copeland of Incarnate Word.
Davis will be honored with the Rice Award, which is named after the legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver and former FCS All-American, at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game.
“To me, all of these accomplishments aren’t about me,” Davis said. “All of my honors are as much our offensive line and our receivers as they are mine. I don’t do anything but see the holes they give me and try to hit them. I have a great line, great fullbacks and great receivers blocking for me — and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Davis, a pre-engineering major from Sandy, Utah, has the ability to get the tough yards or break off a long gain, carrying the ball 250 times for 1,362 yards and nine of his 10 touchdowns. Add in the 5-foot-9, 195-pound back’s pass catching and punt return abilities and he averaged 148.2 all-purpose yards for a 10-3 squad which earned a share of the Big Sky Conference title for the second straight year and reached the national quarterfinals to tie the deepest postseason run in program history.
A national panel of 153 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Jerry Rice Award following the regular season. Voters selected a Top 5 on their ballot.
The Rice Award results
- Josh Davis, RB, Weber State: 71-29-15-7-3–533
- Jon Copeland, QB, Incarnate Word: 29-34-15-13-16–368
- Quay Holmes, RB, ETSU: 8-25-29-18-9–272
- Adrian Hope, LB, Furman: 16-14-25-19-11–268
- Juwon Farri, RB, Monmouth: 7-9-7-20-14–146
- Christian Benford, CB, Villanova: 2-8-7-17-13–110
- Robby Hauck, S, Montana: 1-3-5-18-10–78
- Jack Cook, QB, Dayton: 3-4-9-5-8–76
- Ulonzo Gilliam, RB, UC Davis: 2-7-4-8-3–69
- Andrew Edgar, WR, Illinois State: 0-4-8-8-8–60
- Caleb Snead, WR, Campbell: 3-4-2-6-10–59
- Ty Brock, QB, Sam Houston State: 4-0-7-3-8–55
- Jareem Westcott, RB, Stetson: 0-4-6-0-10–44
- Malik Hamm, DE, Lafayette: 2-1-4-2-6–36
- Bailey Fisher, QB, Tennessee Tech: 1-2-1-6-5–33
- Xavier Smith, WR, Florida A&M: 1-2-2-1-6–27
- Noah Larson, LB, North Dakota: 1-0-4-1-7–26
- Julius Chestnut, RB, Sacred Heart: 2-1-1-0-1–18
- Mohammed Diakite, CB, Penn: 0-1-2-1-3–15
- Skyler Perry, QB, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 0-0-0-0-2–2
A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote four points, a third-place vote three points, a fourth-place vote two points and a fifth-place vote one point.