FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas receiver Joe Adams added to one more award to his lengthy list of postseason honors Thursday, when he was named the inaugural winner of the Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award.
FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas receiver Joe Adams added to one more award to his lengthy list of postseason honors Thursday, when he was named the inaugural winner of the Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award.
The award was created this spring to recognize the nation’s top return specialist. It is named after former Nebraska star Johnny Rodgers, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1972.
Adams was named as the first recipient of the award after tying the Southeastern Conference’s single-season record and leading the NCAA in punt return touchdowns (four). He also ranked second in the NCAA in average yards a return (16.89).
“I’m honored to be the first recipient of the Johnny ‘The Jet’ Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award,” Adams said in a statement. “First of all, I want to thank my mom because she helped me get where I am today. Also, I’d like to thank Johnny for choosing me for this award and my coaches at Arkansas for putting me in a position to succeed. This award would not have been possible without the other guys on the punt return unit who made key blocks during my returns. I’m looking forward to going to Omaha to accept this award on behalf of our program.”
The award will be presented to Adams during a banquet in Omaha on April 12. LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, North Carolina’s T.J. Thorpe and Texas A&M’s Dustin Harris also were finalists.
The Johnny Rodgers Award wraps up an impressive postseason for Adams, who now is preparing for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Little Rock native was named a consensus All-American in 2011 and also earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
“I would like to congratulate Joe Adams on being named the top return specialist in the nation by the Johnny Rodgers Foundation,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a statement. “His returns provided momentum for our team and created amazing memories for Razorback fans for years to come. Joe is truly a special player whose great toughness and tremendous athletic ability make him a deserving recipient of this award.”