Memphis Tigers running back Kenneth Gainwell named freshman player of the year

Tigers Den

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell (19) carries the ball against the Penn State in the first half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl college football game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)


NEW ORLEANS, LA – Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell, who led all freshmen nationally in rushing yards in his rookie season, was named as the 2019 FWAA/Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year presented by Stand Together.

The announcement was made at the annual Football Writers Association of America Awards Breakfast in advance of Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

Gainwell was chosen as the national freshman of the year from a group of three finalists, including North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell and LSU defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. The award was presented for the first time in 2018, when Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was the winner.

Gainwell was one of three American Athletic Conference players chosen to the 2019 FWAA Freshman All-America team. Gainwell joined ECU wide receiver C.J. Johnson and Cincinnati defensive back Ahmad Gardner as Freshman All-America selections.

Gainwell finished the 2019 season with 1,459 rushing yards, which ranks first among freshmen and 12th nationally. He also ranks first among freshmen and ninth nationally with 2,069 all-purpose yards and set a Memphis freshman record with seven 100-yard rushing games.

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