Lincoln – A pair of Nebraska wide receivers are on the initial Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List released Thursday morning. Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman are candidates for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the top receiver in the FBS.
Nebraska is one seven schools with multiple members of the watch list, as the two Huskers will look to follow in the footsteps of their position coach Troy Walters, who captured the award in 1999.
Morgan, who was on the Biletnikoff Award midseason watch list last season, enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2017, setting career bests with 61 catches, 986 receiving yards and 10 touchdown. A second-team All-Big Ten pick, Morgan ranked second in the conference in receiving yards and touchdowns and fourth in catches per game as a junior. Morgan’s 986 receiving yards broke the school record held by 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers, while his five 100-yard receiving games were the most by a Husker in school history. In Big Ten play, he was in the top five among conference receivers in 100-yard games (first), receiving yards per game (second) and receptions per game (fifth).
Spielman comes off a record-breaking freshman campaign that saw him earn All-Big Ten honors at both wide receiver and kick returner. As a receiver, Spielman hauled in 55 passes for 830 yards and a pair of scores, establishing school freshman marks in receptions, receiving yards, 100-yard receiving games (two) and all-purpose yards (1,572). He ranked first or second among all FBS freshmen in receiving yards, receiving yards per game, catches and all-purpose yards in 2017. In conference play, Spielman became just the second Big Ten freshman since 1985 to lead the league in receiving yards per game during the conference season (88.1). He tied Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for second in the Big Ten with an average of 157.8 all-purpose yards per game in league play and was fifth in catches per game. Spielman established Nebraska’s single-game receiving yards record with a 200-yard performance against Ohio State.
The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented live on December 6, 2018, on The Home Depot College Football Awards presented by Gildan.