Villanova quarterback John Robertson won the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, The Sports Network announced Monday. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback Jacob Huesman finished fourth in the voting, one spot behind Appalachian State wide receiver Sean Price,
Price had edged Huesman for Southern Conference freshman of the year.
Robertson finished his season, which included a playoff game, with 1,021 rushing yards and 1,965 passing. Huesman ended his season with similar numbers: 904 rushing yards and 1,712 passing.
"My wife [Amy] isn't going to be to happy about that," joked Mocs coach Russ Huesman, Jacob's father. "She thinks he's the best, which she should as his mother."
Appalachian State linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough finished second in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the FCS's top defender. Montana State defensive end Caled Schreibeis won that award.
UTC defensive end Davis Tull and Kimbrough shared the SoCon coaches' defensive player of the year award; the SoCon media gave it to Tull alone. Tull was not among the nominees for the Buchanan award -- UTC linebacker Wes Dothard finished 19th in the voting -- despite finishing with one more sack and 3.5 more tackles for loss than Schreibeis.
UTC staff opening
Coach Huesman has to decide what to do with the staff opening created by the departure of defensive graduate assistant Austin "Bear" Plemons.
Plemons left to coach high school football in North Carolina, and UTC has two possible candidates to replace him already nearby in Chris Harr and Nick Davison, former Mocs who served as student assistants this past season and graduated from UTC last Saturday.
Harr helped Alex Atkins coach the offensive line. Davison helped Marcus West with the defensive line.
"I'm not sure what direction we're going to go yet," Coach Huesman said.
Townson officially signs
Ider (Ala.) High School offensive lineman Hunter Townson signed with UTC on Monday during a ceremony at the high school. As the Times Free Press previously has reported, Townson will graduate this month and enroll at UTC for spring semester. He said Monday he was happy to finally make it official.
"I committed in May, so it's been a long time," he said.
Sophomore left tackle Brandon Morgan, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Appalachian State on Sept. 22, will still have three years of eligibility remaining. Coach Huesman said recently that Morgan will get a medical redshirt for 2012. ... Huesman joined Twitter on Monday; follow him at @RussHuesman.