Western Kentucky wide receiver Jerreth Sterns has been voted a 2021 Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Second Team All-American, it was announced Friday.
Presented in partnership with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, the FWAA recognized 54 total players as First and Second Team All-Americans.
Sterns is the first Hilltopper to earn this honor in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009) and becomes WKU’s first non-freshman postseason All-American since offensive tackle Forrest Lamp made the Associated Press Third Team in 2016. Sterns and UTSA running back Sincere McCormick, who is also on the Second Team, are the lone Conference USA representatives.
The Waxahachie, Texas, native was named an AP Midseason All-American on Oct. 19 after accumulating 69 receptions for 962 yards and eight touchdowns thru WKU’s first six games. In the Hilltoppers’ past seven contests, he has recorded 68 catches for 756 yards and six scores.
In 13 games this season, Sterns has 137 receptions for 1,718 yards and 14 touchdowns. His averages of 10.54 receptions and 132.2 yards per game lead all FBS receivers by 2.09 and 9.32, respectively, while his 14 scores are tied for third in the nation. His 137 receptions lead the nation by 39; with the next-closest number being 98 receptions by North Carolina’s Josh Downs and Mississippi State’s Makai Polk. His 1,718 yards lead the nation by 129; with the next-closest number being 1,589 by Utah State’s Deven Thompkins.
Sterns’ 137 receptions are the seventh-most in a single season in FBS history and the most-ever by a C-USA player. The top three marks are 158 (East Carolina’s Zay Jones in 2016), 155 (Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes in 2009) and 142 (Houston’s Manny Hazard in 1989). Meanwhile, his 1,718 yards are the 26th-most in FBS history; only four FBS receivers have ever reached the 1,900-yard plateau.
Former WKU wide receiver Taywan Taylor previously set the program records with 98 receptions for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016. Sterns made his 99th catch in the Hilltoppers’ ninth game this season in a 48-21 win over Middle Tennessee to pass Taylor’s mark. For his collegiate career, Sterns has 357 receptions for 3,689 yards and 32 touchdowns in 40 games played at WKU (13) and Houston Baptist (27). He has 17 100-yard receiving games and 18 double-digit catch performances, including nine and eight, respectively, this season.
Sterns has racked up numerous awards and accolades all week long. He was voted to the All-CUSA First Team on Tuesday, announced as the league’s Newcomer of the Year on Wednesday and named a 2021 The Athletic Second Team All-American on Thursday.
In the program’s FBS Era, four WKU players have been named to the FWAA Freshman All-American Team – defensive tackle Ricky Barber (2020), defensive end Juwuan Jones (2018), offensive guard Brandon Ray (2014) and kickoff returner Willie McNeal (2010).
The Hilltoppers conclude their season in the 2021 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 18, where WKU (8-5) will face App State (10-3) of the Sun Belt Conference. Kickoff at FAU Stadium is set for 10 a.m. CT and will be aired nationally on ESPN.
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