SLU’s Cooper named to STATS Jerry Rice Award Watch List

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HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana freshman running back Marcus Cooper was named to the STATS Jerry Rice Award Watch List, STATS announced on Thursday.

Named for the greatest receiver in NFL history and alumnus of FCS member Mississippi Valley State, the Jerry Rice Award was established in 2011 and is presented annually to the nation’s top freshman in FCS. Cooper, a true freshman from Altair, Texas, is the second Lion to be a candidate for the award, as Jordan Wells finished 10th in the voting for the inaugural award in 2011.

Cooper is the second Southeastern player to earn a spot on a STATS national watch list this season. Last month, SLU senior linebacker Sione Teuhema was named to the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the top defensive player in FCS.

Cooper is one of 23 student-athletes on the national list. Cooper and Central Arkansas redshirt freshman running back Kierre Crossley represent the Southland Conference on the Jerry Rice Award watch list.

In his first season out of Rice Consolidated High School, Cooper is third on the team with 504 rushing yards and leads the team with 9.7 yards per carry. He, junior teammate Darren Johnson and Northwestern State senior Chris Jones share the league lead with three games of 100 yards rushing or more in 2017.

After seeing limited action in the first four games of the season, Cooper broke out with a 130-yard performance in a 49-20 victory over Northwestern State on Sept. 30. He followed that up with 148 yards on the ground in a 49-30 win over Incarnate Word the following Saturday.

The next week, he broke off a 91-yard touchdown run – the longest in school history – on the way to a 123-yard showing in a 56-10 win at Houston Baptist. Cooper did his damage as a receiver the following week, hauling in a 54-yard scoring pass from fellow freshman Byron Walker in a 56-21 triumph at Abilene Christian.

Next Thursday, Southeastern will host Nicholls at 6 p.m. at Strawberry Stadium. The 2017 River Bell Classic will be televised live by Cox Sports Television. Outside of the CST viewing area, the broadcast will be available on ESPN3. The regular season finale between the Lions and Colonels can also be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9 FM, Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, WFPR 1400 AM), online at and via the TuneIn Radio app.

Prior to the SLU-Nicholls contest, Southeastern will honor the 22 members of the 2017 senior class. Teuhema, running back Eugene Bethea, senior defensive back Jeff Williams II, senior defensive back Max Lyons, senior kicker Dillon Burkhard, senior linebacker Jake Jiannoni, wide receiver Juwan Dickey, defensive back Ryan Sigers, defensive back Mayori Ellison, linebacker Lee Spight, running back Shamar Busby, quarterback Micah Thomas, defensive back Jonathan Lyles, defensive back Torrance Mosley, defensive back Courtney Rutledge, punter Jim Speights, defensive back Demareyeh Lane, offensive lineman Michael Vick, offensive lineman Paxton Sims, offensive lineman Travis Romero, offensive lineman Cyrus Ekugwum and defensive lineman Greg Hardaway II will be recognized in a special Senior Day ceremony.

STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List
Marcus Cooper, RB, Southeastern Louisiana
Troy Anderson, RB/LB, Montana State
Bryson Armstrong, LB, Kennesaw State
Grant Breneman, QB, Colgate
Davis Cheek, QB, Elon
Jabril Cox, LB, North Dakota State
Kierre Crossley, RB, Central Arkansas
Glenn Cunningham, LB, Fordham
Zane Dudek, RB, Yale
Wesley Dugger, RB, Davidson
Raynard Ellis, LB, Furman
Jaron Grayer, LB, Maine
Pete Guerriero, RB, Monmouth
Gresch Jensen, QB, Montana
Anthony Knighton, DE, Southern Illinois
Torrance Marable, RB, Presbyterian
Emilio Martinez, RB, San Diego
Frank “Mac” McCain III, DB, North Carolina A&T
Caylin Newton, QB, Howard
Kaelan Riley, QB, Mercer
Daniel Smith, QB, Campbell
Isaiah Totten, RB, North Carolina Central
Mark Williams, DB, Eastern Illinois

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