By David Coulson
College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Just as he raced past defenders in opposing team secondaries all season, Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp stayed far ahead of the field during the 2013 Football Championship Subdivision season.
Kupp was chosen on Thursday as the winner of the third-annual College Sports Journal FCS All-Freshman team player of the year. He joins running back Terrance West of Towson (2011) and the duo of Villanova quarterback John Robertson (2012) and Appalachian State wide receiver Sean Price (2012) as winners of CSJ’s top freshman award.
For the first time, College Sports Journal also honored a first-year head coach as the All-Freshman team coach of the year and that award went out to San Diego’s Dale Lindsay, who led the Toreros to the top of the Pioneer Football League standings, even though USD was ineligible for the PFL title and the league’s first-ever FCS automatic bid to the playoffs.
Already honored as the Jerry Rice Award winner — an honor that is voted on after the regular season concludes — Kupp picked up the CSJ recognition after continuing his tirade in the postseason with 16 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington came within seconds of returning to the NCAA Division I Football Championship game and finished the season as Big Sky champions and 12-3 overall.
For the season, Kupp had 93 catches for FCS-bests of 1,691 yards (18.2 average per reception) and 21 touchdowns. His 113 yards per game ranked him fifth in the nation. He set six FCS records, four school marks and one Big Sky standard (Ed Bell of Idaho State’s 45-year-old mark of 20 TD receptions) during his first year.
Kupp established a record previously held by Marshall’s Randy Moss with a TD catch in 14 straight games, cracking the Moss standard of 11 in 1996.
Lindsay took over the reigns of the San Diego program in December, 2012, after years of success as an NFL and college assistant coach, when Ron Caragher moved to San Jose State. Lindsay had previously been the defensive coordinator for the Toreros.
>San Diego finished the season with an 8-3 overall record (7-1 in the PFL) and ranked second nationally in passing efficiency, eighth in scoring and passing offense and ninth in total offense. The defense, which still bore Lindsay’s signature, was 21st against the run and 35th overall.
Overall, the Southern Conference led all leagues with 11 selections, 12 if you include Mercer quarterback John Russ. Mercer played its first season as an independent, but is joining the SoCon.
Appalachian State may be exiting the Southern Conference and FCS, but the Mountaineers picked up a team-high four players on the CSJ All-Freshman team.
About College Sports Journal
The College Sports Journal was the first major news organization to begin recognizing an All-Freshman team at the FCS level.
The All-Freshman team was selected by a blue ribbon panel of FCS experts put together by College Sports Journal executive editor David Coulson and CSJ publisher and managing editor Chuck Burton.
Coulson has 36 years of experience covering college football, including 21 seasons of following FCS and has served as the executive editor and managing partner of College Sporting News and the executive director for The Sports Network, running its national awards program from 2007-2009.
He has had a hand in selecting honors teams at the FCS level since 2002 and is in the process of writing and compiling the first FCS encyclopedia. He also wrote the book Magic on the Mountain, which chronicled Appalachian State’s run to the 2005 NCAA Division I National Football Championship and won the Willie Parker Peace Award from the North Carolina Society of History in 2008.
Burton has been acclaimed for his Lehigh Football Nation blog and as a national columnist for College Sporting News and College Sports Journal in the past decade.
The College Sports Journal will announce its All-America team, including offensive and defensive players of the year, coach of the year, lineman of the year and special teams player of the year on Monday.
2013 College Sports Journal Football Championship Subdivision All-Freshman Team