Football Writers Association of America Sept. 28, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
214-870-6516
A weekly look at the first-year standout players and coaches
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2021 FRESHMAN FOCUS: WEEK 4

DALLAS (FWAA) Each week during the 2021 season, we will highlight the notable performances of first-year players and head coaches leading up to the selection of our annual Freshman All-America Team and the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award presented by Chris Doering Mortgage. Here are the top performances from Week 4, the weekend of Sept. 25:

FIRST-YEAR PLAYERS: THE FRESH FOUR

Rodney Hammond Jr., RB, Pitt (5-9, 175, Norfolk, Va.): 17 rushes, 100 yards, 3 TD

Hammond, who entered Saturday with 37 career yards rushing to his name, broke out in the Panthers' 77-7 win over New Hampshire. The power back was exactly that for Pittsburgh, punching in all three touchdowns in goal-line situations from inside the five-yard line. The true freshman also helped the Panthers set a program record with 707 yards of total offense against the Wildcats. Hammond and the Panthers will head to Atlanta this Saturday for a date with conference foe Georgia Tech.

Karene Reid, LB, Utah (6-0, 228, American Fork, Utah): 15 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

Reid was nothing short of a defensive force for the Utes in their 24-13 win over Washington State. The true freshman led a defense that allowed just 70 yards rushing on 37 attempts and created three turnovers. Reid will look to create a similar performance next Saturday when Utah travels to Los Angeles for a bout with USC.

Jeff Sims, QB, Georgia Tech (6-3, 210, Jacksonville, Fla.): 10/13, 112 yards, 1 TD; 10 rushes, 218 yards, 3 TD

Sims led an explosive offensive effort Saturday night as Georgia Tech knocked off No. 21-ranked North Carolina in Atlanta, 45-22. The dual-threat talent came off the bench and was spectacular, breaking off several big runs and connecting with receivers all over the yard. The redshirt freshman also boosted Georgia Tech to its first win over a ranked opponent since 2017. Sims and the Yellow Jackets will try to keep the fireworks show rolling next week as they play host to Pittsburgh.

Texas' Xavier Worthy (Icon Sportswire)

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas (6-1, 160, Fresno, Calif.): 5 receptions, 100 yards, 3 TD

Worthy blazed the Red Raider secondary all day long, helping lift the Longhorns to an astounding 70-35 win over Texas Tech. The speedster highlighted his performance with a 62-yard touchdown catch consisting of spins, sticks, and a sprint to hit paydirt for the ninth time for Texas. The true freshman, who is currently tied among all FBS freshmen for receiving touchdowns, plans to get a few more next week at TCU.

STEVE SPURRIER FIRST-YEAR COACHES

Andy Avalos, Boise State: Avalos' Broncos bounced back from a heartbreaking loss last week to win their 22nd-straight conference opener against Utah State, 27-3. Despite having fewer yards of total offense than the Aggies, Boise State create three turnovers to limit the Aggies to just a field goal. Hank Bachmeier was 22-of-39 passing for 289 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Receiver Khalil Sakir had 7 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Steve Sarkisian, Texas: The Longhorns' 70-point scoring outburst marked the most points by a Texas team since the 2005 national champion squad. Sarkisian's offense was firing on all cylinders all day long, throwing for 303 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for another 336 yards with four more scores. Quarterback Casey Thompson, who started his first collegiate game last week, has looked stellar so far in his short Longhorn career.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

2021 Freshman Focus
Weekend of Sept. 4
Weekend of Sept. 11
Weekend of Sept. 18
Weekend of Sept. 25
Weekend of Oct. 2
Weekend of Oct. 9
Weekend of Oct. 16
Weekend of Oct. 23
Weekend of Oct. 30
Weekend of Nov. 6
Weekend of Nov. 13
Weekend of Nov. 20
Weekend of Nov. 27