GREENSBORO - Active redshirt freshman linebacker D'Vonte Grant was named as one of the 20 finalists for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, which honors the top freshman of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision.
"He has done an outstanding job for us this season," said North Carolina A&T football head coach Rod Broadway. "This honor is well-deserved because he has made tremendous strides throughout the season. His attitude and work ethic are phenomenal. He's only going to get better."
Grant (5-11, 215, Charlotte, N.C.) led the team with 87 tackles, including 10.5 for a loss. He also had one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick, two quarterback hurries and two pass breakups in 11 games started this season. He is just the second freshman in school history to lead the team in tackles, and he broke a school record for tackles by a freshman.
Grant earned a spot on the Jerry Rice Watch List after making 11 tackles against Appalachian State on Sept. 10, and he followed up that performance with 12 tackles against Coastal Carolina two weeks later. Grant was one of two MEAC players named to the finalist list. The other was Howard quarterback Greg McGhee.
The winner of the Jerry Rice Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com, will be announced on Friday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas, at the national awards banquet before the national championship game. More than 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and others will serve on the panel that selects the winner.
Rice made receiving look effortless during his amazing career in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State University. He was a two-time first-team All-American and finished his career with 310 receptions for 4,851 yards and 50 touchdowns. His 27 TD receptions in 1984 set the NCAA record for all divisions. He went on to have an historic NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.