Northwestern vs. Nebraska, 11/4/17

Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman runs stride-for-stride with a trio of Northwestern defenders on a second-quarter kickoff return Saturday, Nov. 4 at Memorial Stadium.

TED KIRK, Journal Star

Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman was named one of the best freshmen in the country by the Football Writers Association of America, the school announced Monday morning. 

Spielman, the Eden Prairie, Minnesota native, finished 2017 with 830 receiving yards on 55 catches and finished third in the Big Ten at 142.9 all-purpose yards per game. 

The 5-foot-10 receiver was productive the entire season — his first collegiate touch was a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown against Arkansas State — but he really came on in the second half of the season. Though the Huskers lost six of their last seven, Spielman logged five games of 70-plus receiving yards in his final six appearances before missing the season finale against Iowa with a shoulder injury. 

That included a school-record 200 yards against Ohio State on Oct. 14 and 141 on Nov. 11 against Minnesota. 

Spielman is the first NU receiver to make the FWAA freshman team and just the second receiver in Big Ten History, per the school. 

He was also named a freshman All-American by USA Today. Spielman's 75.5 receiving yards per game ranked first nationally among freshmen and his receptions per game (5.0) and all-purpose yardage each ranked second. 

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Contact the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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