Wells attracts national attention

There have not been many bright spots in Lions football this season, but redshirt freshman running back Jordan Wells has found a way to shine on the special teams unit.

Last week, Wells was named Southland Conference (SLC) Special Teams Player of the Week with his performance versus UCA, and later in the week on Wednesday, Nov. 2, Wells’ numbers attracted national attention when he was named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List. This award is given to the most outstanding freshman in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football, formerly known as Division 1-AA.

Wells’ name highlights this list along with 19 other players.  The award is presented by Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com. A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will reign as voters in selecting the first Jerry Rice Award winner.

“We got a bunch of kickoff returns so I try to take advantage of each return,” said Wells. “We got good blockers up front so I just try to get the ball and make something happen.”

In Saturday’s game versus Sam Houston State, Wells returned the opening kickoff 50 yards. Coming into Saturday’s game Wells had already set Southeastern and SLC single-season records with 1, 171 yards in kickoff returns averaging 26.6 yards per attempt. Wells is now 100 yards away from the single-season NCAA FCS single-season record of 1, 411, set by David Primus of Samford in 1989. In the game versus UCA, Wells returned nine kicks for a season high 265 yards, including a season best 91-yard return.

“I’m used to running the ball a lot, so every chance I get to run the ball I try to make big things happen and get it while I can,” said Wells.

Wells opened the season at Tulane with 224 return yards including returns of 44 and 46 yards. Wells also has returned a pair of 67 yarders in games versus McNeese State and Lamar.

The Jerry Rice Award winner will be announced after the regular season. The Hall of Fame wide receiver, who played collegiate ball in FCS at Mississippi Valley State, will be on hand at the national award banquet on Jan. 6. in Frisco, Texas, to present the award.

“It would be a big accomplishment to win the award,” said Wells. “Coming out I really didn’t expect to do that well, but I just want to help the team anyway I can.”