PHIADELPHIA, Pa. – Harvard offensive tackle Will Whitman is one of 20 football players nationwide named as a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, honoring the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision and presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the first Jerry Rice Award winner after the regular season. The legendary wide receiver, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, will be on hand at the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas, to present the award.
Whitman, a 6 foot 6, 280-pound tackle from Lexington, Ky., is the only lineman on either side of the ball to be named as a finalist.
The first freshman offensive lineman to start under veteran head coach Tim Murphy, Whitman played every snap this season for a Harvard team that set a single-season record for points score (374) while ranking third nationally in scoring offense. Harvard also ranked 13th nationally in total offense and was the sixth-ranked passing team.
Whitman had 53 knockdowns including 10 in a single game at Cornell. He allowed just two sacks all season.
Harvard won nine straight games to finish the season undefeated in the Ivy League with its 14th league championship and sixth under head coach Tim Murphy, who was recently named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award as national coach of the year.