Top return man to be honored with Rodgers Award

ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer Published:

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A new college football award named after Nebraska Heisman Trophy winner Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers will be given to the nation's top return specialist.

Rodgers won the Heisman in 1972 and is regarded as one of the top punt and kick returners in college football history.

The winner for the 2011 award will be selected by Rodgers and announced Thursday. Rodgers said at a news conference Tuesday that national media members will be enlisted to select future winners.

The 2011 finalists are Arkansas' Joe Adams, Texas A&M's Dustin Harris, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and North Carolina's T.J. Thorpe.

The winner and his family will receive the award at an April 12 banquet in Omaha.

Rodgers said an award for return specialists is long overdue.