FBS’ Leading Receiver Jerreth Sterns added to 2021 Biletnikoff Award Watch List
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — WKU Football wide receiver Jerreth Sterns was added to the 2021 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation, Inc. announced Wednesday morning. The Biletnikoff Award annually recognizes the season’s outstanding FBS receiver in college football, regardless of position.
The Waxahachie, Texas, native has amassed 40 receptions for 546 yards and five touchdowns in four games, leading the Hilltoppers in all four categories. Averaging 10 catches and 135.5 yards per game, Sterns leads all FBS receivers through Week 5 of the 2021 season.
Sterns is 1-of-61 overall players on the watch list, 1-of-54 wide receivers and only 1-of-4 Conference USA receivers on the watch list, joining UTEP’s Jacob Cowing, UTSA’s Zakhari Franklin and Rice’s Bradley Rozner. He is the 10th player in 2021 to be added to the list based on in-season performance. Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore – who has 34 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns in four games – was also added on Wednesday.
Sterns had 17 receptions and 186 yards and a 28-yard touchdown catch in WKU’s most recent game at #16/17 Michigan State. The 17 receptions tied the Hilltoppers’ all-time program record, matching Lucky Jackson’s mark in the 2019 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. The 186 yards were the fifth-most by an FBS player this season, and are tied for the ninth-most by a WKU player in program history.
With 260 career catches in 31 games played, Sterns is college football’s active leader with 8.4 receptions per game. He also has 2,517 career receiving yards and 23 touchdowns, including five multi-score games. In those 31 contests, he has 11 100-yard receiving efforts and 11 double-digit reception performances.
Sterns is the first Hilltopper to be recognized on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List since Jackson in 2019, who was added on November 11 of that year and finished his senior campaign with 94 receptions for 1,133 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games.
Four other WKU players have received Biletnikoff Award recognition; Jared Dangerfield and Taywan Taylor were named to the Preseason Watch List in 2015, then during the season tight end Tyler Higbee was added. Then in 2016, Taylor and Nicholas Norris were named to the Preseason Watch List in 2016. Taylor was a top 10 semifinalist in both 2015 and 2016.
The name Biletnikoff is synonymous with the term receiver. Fred Biletnikoff, a member of the pro and college football halls of fame, was a consensus All-America receiver at Florida State University, and an All-Pro receiver for the Oakland Raiders. He caught 589 passes for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns in his 14-year Raiders career from 1965 through 1978. Fred was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XI.
The correlation between Biletnikoff Award winners and stardom in the National Football League is nearly uniformly consistent. Past Biletnikoff Award winners include Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, the late Terry Glenn and Larry Fitzgerald.
The 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented the Biletnikoff Award trophy at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet & Celebration at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, March 5, 2022.