Philadelphia, Pa. - Youngstown State freshman tailback Martin Ruiz (Tampa, Fla.) finished tied for third in the Jerry Rice Award voting, which honors the top FCS freshman in the nation, The Sports Network announced on Monday.
Winning the award was standout Eastern Washington freshman wide receiver Copper Kupp who had 557 total points, including a high of 80 first-place votes. Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox finished second with 259 points and Ruiz tied Sacred Heart quarterback R.J. Noel for third with 202 points.
Ruiz claimed five first-place votes and was on 73 ballots. He was tabbed second on 16, third on 20, fourth on 21 and fifth on 11.
In his first year, Ruiz had one of the best campaigns by a freshman running back in school history. He set school freshman bests with 192 carries, 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns.
For his efforts he was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference's Newcomer and Freshman of the Year. He was a second-team all-conference pick as a running back. Ruiz, Cox and North Carolina A&T's Tarik Cohen were the only FCS-level freshmen to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the campaign.
The Penguins concluded the 2013 season with an 8-4 overall record and were 5-3 in the MVFC finishing in a tie for second place.