UST's Tateoka, PC's Mikko named to Jerry Rice Award Watch List
Courtesy St. Thomas Athletics Media Relations
Courtesy St. Thomas Athletics Media Relations

Wednesday, October 18, 2023
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

CHICAGO, Ill. -- St. Thomas quarterback Tak Tateoka and Presbyterian kicker Mack Mikko were two of 22 FCS freshman student-athletes named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List Wednesday.

The Jerry Rice Award, presented by FedEx Ground, is presented to the national freshman of the year in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision. To be eligible for the Jerry Rice Award, a player must be considered a freshman by his conference in his first or second academic year without surpassing four games played in the previous academic year – similar to the NCAA’s regular redshirt rule. More players can join the watch list before a national media panel selects the winner following the regular season.

Tateoka, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, has appeared in all seven games and made five starts for St. Thomas this season. He has completed 60-of-102 passes for 598 yards and five touchdowns in those seven games. Tateoka also has connected with 15 different receivers in 2023.

Mikko, of Newnan, Georgia, is the only special teams player on the 22-freshman list. He has made 10-of-14 field goals this season, and he ranks third among FCS kickers with 1.67 field goals made per game while being one of only five FCS kickers with double-digit field goals made this season. He has earned the PFL’s Special Teams Player of the Week award twice this season, including the league’s Week 7 award after he kicked the game-winning overtime field goal in the Blue Hose’s victory at Dayton.

The Rice Award will be presented at the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas, along with the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.