Jerry Rice owns every record that elite wide receivers are chasing, but Fred Biletnikoff defined greatness at the position. Over his 14-year NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, the 6-foot-1 pass catcher caught 589 passes for 8,974 receiving yards and 76 touchdowns. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers in today’s NFL, but during the 1970s, Biletnikoff set the standard.
The MVP of Super Bowl XI is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. The consensus All-American at Florida State University still dots the school record books over five decades later, and he lends his name to the award given to college football’s most outstanding receiver every year.
What is the Biletnikoff Award?
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc. presents the Biletnikoff Award to the most outstanding receiver in FBS college football every year; It’s important to note that any pass catcher, including tight ends and running backs, are eligible for the award.
The winner is announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards live on ESPN, followed by a separate trophy presentation at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet at the University Center Club inside Tallahassee’s Doak Campbell Stadium.
Since Bobby Engram won the inaugural award as a Penn State Nittany Lion in 1994, some of the game’s greatest names claimed the honor. Marshall’s Randy Moss (1997), Michigan State’s Charles Rogers (2002), Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald (2003), Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson (2006), Notre Dame’s Golden Tate (2009), Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks (2013), Alabama’s Amari Cooper (2014), and Oklahoma State’s James Washington (2017) are among the past winners.
The TQC announced the 2019 Biletnikoff Award semifinalists on November 18 and will narrow the list down to three finalists prior to the annual ceremony on December 12.
Biletnikoff Award Semifinalists
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Omar Bayless, Arkansas State
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty
Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State
Justin Jefferson, LSU
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Michael Pittman Jr., USC
James Proche, SMU
DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Sage Surratt, Wake Forest
Jerry Jeudy, the 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner, could have become the third player ever to win the prestigious honor twice, joining Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree (2007, 2008) and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (2010, 2011). Jeudy’s numbers through 11 games weren’t as impressive as some of this season’s outstanding FBS receivers (66 catches, 933 yards, 9 touchdowns), but he’s arguably the most talented and will likely be the first WR selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
However, the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee left the All-SEC star off its list of three finalists for the 2019 honor.
Biletnikoff Award Finalists 2019
Ja’Marr Chase, Sophomore, LSU
Stats: 73 catches, 1,498 yards, 18 touchdowns (12 games)
CeeDee Lamb, Junior, Oklahoma
Stats: 58 catches, 1,208 yards, 14 touchdowns (12 games)
Michael Pittman Jr., Senior, USC
Stats: 95 catches, 1,222 yards, 11 touchdowns (12 games)
TQC Foundation Chairman Steve Dobson III will honor the Biletnikoff Award recipient alongside Fred Biletnikoff himself at a ceremony that’s been called “the best banquet in college sports.” College football Hall-of-Famer Lou Holtz will be the keynote speaker for this year’s banquet on February 15, 2020.
On a night where Joe Burrow won the Maxwell Award, Grant Delpit won the Thorpe Award, and Ed Orgeron was named Home Depot Coach of the Year, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase took home the 2019 Biletnikoff Award.
Chase joins LSU’s Josh Reed (2001) as the school’s only Biletnikoff Award winners.
Ja’Marr Chase Wins Biletnikoff Award
This post was updated on November 18, to reflect editorial corrections regarding the first winner of the Biletnikoff Award, who was Penn State’s Bobby Engram. The original post cited the inaugural winner as Ohio State’s Terry Glenn, who won the second award in 1995.