Jamal Jackson, Appalachian State, Jr., QB
Jamal Jackson led the Southern Conference and ranked eighth nationally with 1,510 yards of total offense over the first month of the season (302.0 ypg), helping Appalachian State to a 3-2 record. The junior quarterback leads the SoCon and ranks 11th nationally with 1,277 total passing yards and completed 66.3 percent of his passes on the month. He threw eight touchdowns against just four interceptions and had at least 200 passing yards and 250 yards of total offense in four of the Mountaineers’ five games. Jackson notched the 40th 300-yard passing game in school history in the season opener at East Carolina and became the 13th 3,000-yard passer in Appalachian State history on Sept. 22 at Chattanooga in only the 11th start of his career. He was the SoCon’s offensive player of the week on Sept. 10.
Other nominees: Darien Robinson (The Citadel), Aaron Mellette (Elon), Dominique Swope (Georgia Southern), Fabian Truss (Samford), Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga), Jacoby Mitchell (Western Carolina) and Eric Breitenstein (Wofford).
Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, So., FS
Jaquiski Tartt led Samford with 51 tackles, including 25 solo stops, in September, helping the Bulldogs to a 4-1 start and an appearance in the top 25. The sophomore free safety intercepted two passes, with both of them coming against West Alabama, and returned them for 69 yards. Tartt also recovered two fumbles in the month, including one that he returned for an 80-yard touchdown at No. 9 Georgia Southern. Tartt was the SoCon’s defensive player of the week on Sept. 10.
Other nominees: Jeremy Kimbrough (Appalachian State), Carl Robinson (The Citadel), John Stevenson (Georgia Southern), Davis Tull (Chattanooga), Rock Williams (Western Carolina) and Phillip LeGrande (Wofford).
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Paul Chelimo, UNCG, Jr.
In his only action in September, UNCG junior Paul Chelimo finished third at the Greater Louisville Classic against an elite field that included two top-10 teams and defending NCAA champion Lawi Lalang of Arizona. Chelimo’s time of 22:59.37 in the 8,000-meter race was a new personal best and shattered his own school record by nearly 12 seconds. Named the SoCon runner of the week following his performance, Chelimo’s time in the event is the best 8K time in the league by more than a minute this season.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Amanda Hamilton, Appalachian State, Sr.
Amanda Hamilton was Appalachian State’s top finisher in all three events in which she competed in the first month of the season, helping the squad to the adidas/Winthrop Invitational title and a pair of runner-up finishes. In her first action of the season, Hamilton finished third at the 5,000-meter Covered Bridge Open in a time of 18:28.5 as the Mountaineers finished second only to No. 4 Florida State and ahead of North Carolina. Hamilton turned in a season-best 18:10.26 at the Winthrop Invite, good for a runner-up individual finish and leading the Mountaineers to the win over the 31-team field. The senior closed her month with a time of 21:50.50 in the 6,000-meter 49er Invite, finishing ninth individually while helping Appalachian State to a runner-up team finish in the 33-team field that also included five other SoCon schools.
Chris Thomas, Elon, Sr., F
Elon senior forward Chris Thomas was a two-time SoCon player of the week in September, scoring 12 goals and adding an assist for a league-best 25 points in the month to help the Phoenix to a 6-1-1 mark (1-0 SoCon). Thomas scored in all but one match in the month with five multi-goal games and five game-winning goals. He was named the College Soccer News and Disney Soccer/NSCAA National Player of the Week on Sept. 24 after scoring both goals in Elon’s win over No. 6 Charlotte and both goals in a 2-1 win over William & Mary. Thomas, who is second nationally in points (33) and goals (15), has set Elon’s single-season and career goal marks this season.
Other nominees: Lee Williams (Appalachian State), Sean de Silva (College of Charleston), Martin Ontiveros (Furman), Hakan Ilhan (UNCG) and Alex Hutchins (Wofford).
Stephanie DeVita, Furman, Fr., F
Furman forward Stephanie DeVita scored a league-high 10 goals in eight matches in the month to go along with two assists for a SoCon-best 22 points in September. The league’s leading scorer, the freshman is sixth nationally in total points (28) and third in goals (13). DeVita scored in all but one of Furman’s games in the month, turning in three multi-goal contests as the Paladins went 6-1-1 in September with a 2-1-1 SoCon mark. She notched two game-winning goals and scored the tying goal with just 25 seconds left in regulation as the Paladins battled to a 2-2 draw with preseason SoCon favorite Samford. She was named the league’s player of the week on Sept. 30.
Other nominees: Julia Holz (Appalachian State), Sarah Cardamone (College of Charleston), Mariana Garcia (The Citadel), Rachael Newmister (Davidson), Simi Dhaliwal (Elon), Sydnie Van Curan (Georgia Southern), Chesney White (UNCG), Brittany Hoffman (Samford), Hannah Wyatt (Chattanooga), Markie-Lynn Studnicky (Western Carolina) and Maureen Buff (Wofford).
Natalie Braun, Furman, Sr., OH
Furman outside hitter Natalie Braun helped the Paladins to a 7-4 record in September (2-2 SoCon), turning in eight double-doubles in 11 contests on the month. Braun turned in 160 kills in 39 games played, good for an average of 4.10 per game. She also added 2.73 digs per set, scooping up 145 total. In Furman’s 3-1 win over Clemson, the senior posted a season-high 25 kills and had 17 digs. She also had 21 kills in a 3-1 win over Montana and turned in a season-best 20 digs in a 3-2 loss to Samford. She leads the Paladins in kills on the season and is second in digs. Braun was the SoCon’s offensive player of the week on Sept. 10.
Other nominees: Dalton Tolliver (Appalachian State), Rachael Ferrell (The Citadel), Darcy Dorton (College of Charleston), Tindall Sewell (Davidson), Megan Gravley (Elon), Meredith Paskert (Georgia Southern), Karrian Chambers (UNCG), Lauren Hutchinson (Samford), Bridget Camacho (Chattanooga), Caitlin Piechota (Western Carolina) and Rachel Woodlee (Wofford).
Paula Passmore, Chattanooga, Sr., L
Chattanooga libero Paula Passmore racked up a league-best 336 total digs in September, good for an average of 6.11 per set. Currently third in NCAA Division I in digs per set with 6.35 this season, Passmore reached double digits in digs in each of the Mocs’ matches in September, turning in no fewer than 15 in each contest. The senior had at least 20 digs in eight of her 15 matches and hit the 30-dig plateau three times, including an impressive 42 in a 3-2 win over Wofford. She was the league’s defensive player of the week on Sept. 24.
Other nominees: Jessica Eley (Appalachian State), Lauren Hurt (The Citadel), Emily Shelton (College of Charleston), Molly Crenshaw (Davidson), Ali Deatsch (Elon), Elle Ross (Furman), Katherine Santiago (UNCG), Alexis Bauer (Samford), Morgan Cochran (Western Carolina) and Reagan Styles (Wofford).
Southern Conference September Athletes of the Month
Football – Offense Jamal Jackson, Appalachian State
Football – Defense Jaquiski Tartt, Samford
Men’s Cross Country Paul Chelimo, UNCG
Women’s Cross Country Amanda Hamilton, Appalachian State
Men’s Soccer Chris Thomas, Elon
Women’s Soccer Stephanie DeVita, Furman
Volleyball – Offense Natalie Braun, Furman
Volleyball – Defense Paula Passmore, Chattanooga