Former University of Arkansas wide receiver/punt returner Joe Adams has been named one of four finalists for the inaugural Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award, it was announced Tuesday.
Adams was a consensus All-American and the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2011 after tying the SEC single-season record and leading the NCAA with four punt return touchdowns. The Little Rock, Ark., native led the SEC and ranked second in the NCAA with an average of 16.89 yards per punt return, the fourth-highest single-season average in school history. He also tied the SEC single-game record with two punt return touchdowns in the season opener against Missouri State and broke Arkansas' single-game record with 174 punt return yards against the Bears.
In his career, Adams scored five touchdowns on punt returns, the third-highest total in SEC history. He also averaged 15.83 yards per punt return throughout his career, which ranks second all-time at Arkansas.
The award is named after Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Rodgers. Rodgers, who won the 1972 Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000, finished his career holding NCAA records for punt return touchdowns (seven) and total kick return touchdowns (nine). He also broke 41 school records in his three seasons at Nebraska and helped the Cornhuskers to consecutive national titles in 1970 and 1971 and Big Eight crowns from 1970-72.
In addition to Adams, the other finalists are North Carolina's T.J. Thorpe, Dustin Harris from Texas A&M and LSU's Tyrann Mathieu. The winner of the Johnny Rodgers Award will be announced Thursday and be presented with the award during a banquet in Omaha, Neb., on April 12.