(STATS) - The winner of this year's STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award this year will join incredibly select company.
The first five seasons of the award for national freshman of the year has produced an NFL draftee (Towson running back Terrance West), two future Walter Payton Award recipients (Villanova quarterback John Robertson and Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp), one of the nation's top running backs (Fordham's Chase Edmonds) and the FCS record holder for touchdown passes by a freshman (Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus).
Six freshmen having outstanding seasons were nominated to the Rice Award Watch List on Tuesday, joining 17 others named to the initial list. True and redshirt freshmen are eligible for the award.
The new nominees, listed alphabetically by last name:
Chase Fourcade, Nicholls, QB, 6-0, 190, Metairie, Louisiana
Second among FCS freshmen in total offense (233 ypg) and first in points responsible for (130).
2016 Statistics: 162 of 279, 1,887 yards, 13 TDs, 8 INTs; 79 carries, 210 yards, 7 TDs (9 games)
Torrey Hunt, North Dakota, CB, 6-1, 185, Madison, Alabama
Former Navy recruit ranks second among FCS freshmen in passes defended (13)
2016 Statistics: 41 TT (26 Solo), 1 TFL, 3 INTs, 10 PBU (10 games)
Alex Probert, Liberty, PK, 5-9, 170, Andover, Minnesota
Became the first Big South freshman to kick three field goals of 45 or more yards in the same game.
2016 Statistics: 13 of 17 FGs (51 long), 30-32 PATs, 69 points; 61.7 yards per kickoff (9 games)
Prince Smith Jr., New Hampshire, CB, 5-10, 176, Philadelphia
Ranks first among FCS freshmen and tied for fifth in the nation with 1.6 passes defended per game.
2016 Statistics: 24 TT (19 Solo), 1.5 TFL, 1 Sack, 5 INTs, 9 PBU (9 games)
Ryan Stanley, Florida A&M, QB, 6-3, 190, Pembroke, Florida
Fourth in the MEAC in total offense, Stanley hasn't committed a turnover in five straight games.
2016 Statistics: 92 of 160, 1,010 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 50 carries, 235 yards, 3 TDs (7 games)
Nathan Stewart, Sam Houston State, WR, 6-1, 169, Dallas
2016 Statistics: 39 receptions, 768 yards, nine touchdowns (nine games)
The Jerry Rice Award Watch List also includes:
Quarterbacks: Tyrie Adams (Western Carolina), Elijah Burress (Campbell) and Stephen Calvert (Liberty)
Running Backs: Jordan Bentley (Alabama A&M), A.J. Hines (Duquesne), Joe Logan (Northern Arizona) and Shane Simpson (Towson)
Wide Receivers: Jerry Louie-McGhee (Montana) and Steven Newbold (Tennessee State)
Defensive End: Sully Laiche (Nicholls)
Linebackers: Max Roberts (Fordham), Christian Rozeboom (South Dakota State) and Gee Stanley (Robert Morris)
Cornerback: Jaylan Foster (Gardner-Webb)
Safeties: Marlon Bridges (Jacksonville State), Pop Lacey (New Hampshire) and Corey Parker (William & Mary)
A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award following the regular season. Also this season, STATS will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), the Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and the Doris Robinson FCS Scholar-Athlete of the Year.