KNOXVILLE -- Vols returnman Cordarrelle Patterson has been named to the Midseason Jet Award Watch List. Patterson ranks second in the NCAA and first in the SEC in average kickoff return with 38.3 per return. He had an 98-yard touchdown return at Mississippi State on Oct. 13.
The Jet Award honors the best return specialist in college football. Drawing its name from former Heisman trophy winner Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, the Jet award will be voted on by a selection committee featuring football writers and broadcasters from around the country as well as Johnny Rodgers and Joe Adams, the 2011 winner of the Jet Award.
The Midseason 2012 Jet Award watch list includes several of the nation's leading kickoff and punter returners. Hawaii junior Mike Edwards leads the nation in number of kickoff returns (26) and yards (807) with two touchdowns. Missouri's Marcus Murphy has three punt return touchdowns while averaging nearly 19 yards a return. Kent State junior Dri Archer is averaging more than 47 yards a kickoff return with three touchdowns.
Athletes on the watch list represent seven different conferences, with the SEC leading the way with three. Nebraska Sophomore Ameer Abdullah, Junior Venric Mark from Northwestern and Missouri Sophomore Murphy are among the leaders in both punt return and kickoff return.
To be considered for the Jet Award players must be a primary kick or punt returner for his team. They must be among the national leaders in return categories and show leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline.
This midseason watch list twelve will be whittled down to four finalists in November. The winner will be chosen by a vote of the selection committee and the 2012 winner will be announced before the award presentation in December.
Veteran college football return specialists will be honored with legend awards each year as well, with the first winners coming from 1960 thru 1969. This year's veteran recipient will be announced in November.
The award event will benefit the Johnny Rodgers Youth Foundation's charitable programs. Currently through his youth foundation, Rodgers has joined the fight to keep kids in school until graduation.
2012 Midseason Jet Award Watch List
Ameer Abdullah So. Nebraska
Tavon Austin Sr. West Virginia
Dri Archer Jr. Kent State
Mike Edwards Jr Hawaii
Rashad Green So. Florida State
Duke Johnson Fr. Miami
Tyler Lockett So. Kansas State
Venric Mark Jr. Northwestern
Marcus Murphy So. Missouri
Cordarrelle Patterson Jr. Tennessee
Ace Sanders Jr. South Carolina
Tre Watts Jr. Tulsa
Former Vol quarterback and Vol Network sideline reporter Andy Kelly had surgery to remove his appendix on Thursday. Kelly's surgery went well and he is at home in Dayton, Tennessee recovering. He hopes to feel well enough to attend Saturday's Tennessee-Alabama game but will not handle the sideline duties during the broadcast.
Kelly's former Vol teammate and quarterback mentor Jeff Francis will step back into his former role with the Vol Network to give Kelly time to recoup. Francis, who was a three-year starting quarterback at Tennessee from 1986-88, served as the Vol Radio Network's first sideline football reporter for eight seasons (1999-2006). He stepped down from the role prior to the 2007 season in order to spend more time watching his sons play football.
Kelly, who is in his third season as sideline reporter, is expected to be back in action for next weekend's game at South Carolina.
(E-mail Stan Crawley at email@example.com)