|USC's Marqise Lee was left off the initial preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list. Now, he's a semifinalist. Lee was one of three Pac-12 sophomores named semifinalists on Monday. (US Presswire)|
Three Pac-12 wide receivers have been named Biletnikoff Award semifinalists, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation announced Monday. The award is given to the nation's "most outstanding college football receiver."
Arizona's Austin Hill, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and Southern Cal's Marqise Lee were among the 10 semifinalists named. The Pac-12 and Big 12 each had three players on the list, leading the way nationally.
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club almost started a West Coast riot in July when it left Lee of the initial watch list, which both Hill and Cooks made. Twitter exploded with outrage and less than 24 hours after the flub, Lee was added to the list.
It was a smart addition by the TQBC, mainly because Lee's currently the second leading receiver in the country. The sophomore is averaging 144.7 yards per game and earlier this season, set the Pac-12 record with 345 yards receiving against Arizona. Lee has amassed more than 150 yards in five of USC's 10 games this season.
Cooks isn't having a bad season either. The sophomore has played a huge role in the Beavers' resurgence this season. Cooks is averaging 109.8 yards per game, which ranks seventh nationally. Despite catching passes from two different starting quarterbacks this year, Cooks has still managed to go over 100 yards in five of the Beavers' nine games, including a career-high 175 yards against UCLA in September. Oregon State is 7-2.
As for Hill, he's been one of the biggest benefactors in first-year coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. Hill is averaging 102.3 yards this season, which ranks 11th nationally, but only third in the Pac-12 -- behind Lee and Cooks. Hill's biggest game this season, a 259-yard performance against USC, went largely unnoticed, thanks to Lee's conference record 345 yards receiving in the same game.
The three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award will be named on Nov. 19.
The award will be handed out on Dec. 6.