Three University of South Carolina wide receivers have been named to the preseason Biletnikoff Award Watch List, it was announced today. Damiere Byrd, Bruce Ellington and Shaq Roland all earned a spot on the list created by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation, Inc., recognizing the outstanding receiver in college football.
Byrd is a 5-9, 166-pound junior from Sicklerville, N.J. Regarded as the fastest member of the squad, he caught 14 passes for 366 yards, a 26.1-yard average, with three touchdowns in 2012.
Ellington, a 5-9, 196-pound dual-sport athlete from Moncks Corner, S.C., hauled in a team-leading 40 catches last season with seven touchdowns. The standout junior is also the point guard on the Gamecock men's basketball team.
Roland, a 6-1, 190-pound sophomore from Lexington, S.C., caught five passes for 80 yards in his rookie campaign for the Garnet & Black. As a high school senior in 2011, he was named "Mr. Football" in the state of South Carolina.
The award recipient is selected by the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee, a group of over 200 prominent college football journalists, commentators, and former receivers. Receivers may be added to the watch list as their season performances dictate. According to TQC Foundation Chairman Ritchie Pickron, "Given the significant number of outstanding college receivers playing in the 2013 season, the race for the Biletnikoff Award is wide open."
The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented live on December 12, 2013, on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show to be broadcast from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on ESPN.
Chairman Pickron announced that the Biletnikoff Award winner will receive his trophy before 600 patrons at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, February 8, 2014. Coaching great Dick Vermeil will deliver the 2014 banquet's keynote address and recognize the Foundation's fifteen scholarship recipients who will receive from the Foundation well over $750,000 in college scholarships. The Foundation's charitable mission is to provide college scholarships to North Florida high school seniors who have overcome significant barriers to achieve at the highest academic and extra-curricular levels.
The banquet will be live streamed on ESPN3. ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, giving fans a destination that delivers thousands of live sports events annually, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN3 is currently available in 83 million homes. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc. will announce the 10 Biletnikoff Award semifinalists on November 18, 2013, following the vote by the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee. Likewise, the three finalists will be declared, following another vote, on November 25, 2013. For complete details and updates of interest, together with weekly statistics and news of the Biletnikoff Award candidates, please consult the Foundation website at www.biletnikoffaward.com.
The name Biletnikoff is synonymous with the term receiver. Fred Biletnikoff, a member of the pro and college football halls of fame, was an All-Pro receiver with the Oakland Raiders and an All-America receiver at Florida State University. 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 Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc. created the Biletnikoff Award in 1994. Seventeen college receivers have won the award, including Marqise Lee, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Michael Crabtree, and Larry Fitzgerald.
Foundation Selection Committee Co-Chairman and Founding Trustee Walter Manley, II, noted, "The 2013 Biletnikoff Award Pre-season Watch List contains one of the most talented fields in the award's history, consistent with the escalating importance of the passing game in college football." Selection Committee Co-Chairman Mark Haney, who has helped comprise pre-season watch lists for over a decade, commented: "Receiver has become the glamour position in college offenses; the great athletes are gravitating to receiver which means the ranks of excellent college receivers continue to grow."