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Nevada’s Elijah Cooks named to Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs. Nevada Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nevada wide receiver Elijah Cooks was one of 55 players placed on the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award Thursday. It is an award annually given to the nation’s top receiver. The award was most recently awarded to LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase.

Cooks is one of five receivers from the Mountain West on this preseason watch list heading into 2020. The five are Khalil Shakir (Boise State), Warren Jackson (Colorado State), Jared Smart (Hawai’i) and Tre Walker (San Jose State).

He also earned preseason honors from Athlon Sports and Phil Steele Magazine, being named to their preseason All-Mountain West teams. Cooks was recently ranked No. 3 on my Top-10 returning Nevada players entering 2020.

The 6-foot-4 wideout posted career-highs in receptions (76), receiving yards (926) and touchdowns (8) — all led Nevada. His 12.2 receptions per game average ranked fourth in the Mountain West and his 71.2 receiving yards per game placed seventh.

Cooks was sensational in the final five games, hauling in 40 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns. In Nevada’s final two contests, he totaled a jaw-dropping 26 catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-high 14 catches for 197 yards and one score in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl versus Ohio. His 197 receiving yards in the bowl game were third-most by a receiver in the conference last season and set a new bowl record. His 14 catches tied a Nevada bowl record, set by Alex Van Dyke in the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl versus Toledo. Cooks’ presence on the field was felt in nearly every game as he hauled in at least three receptions in 12 of the Pack’s 13 contests.

The 2020 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented the Biletnikoff Award trophy by TQC Foundation Chairman George Avant, Jr., keynoter and college hall of famer Chad Hennings, and college and pro football hall of famer Fred Biletnikoff before 550 patrons at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on March 6, 2021.

Here are list of Wolf Pack players to garner preseason watch list honors: