2015 Football Awards and All-Conference Announced
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 11/24/2015
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The Citadel's Mike Houston
Courtesy: UNCG photo by Martin Kane

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Southern Conference co-champion Chattanooga claimed a league-high 14 all-conference first- and second-team selections and senior quarterback Jacob Huesman became the first player in league history to be named SoCon Offensive Player of the Year three times in voting by the SoCon’s head coaches, as announced by the league office Tuesday.

Defensive lineman Mitchell Jeter of The Citadel was named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, while the Bulldogs’ Mike Houston was named coach of the year. Samford wide receiver Kelvin McKnight was named freshman of the year and Chattanooga’s Corey Levin earned the Jacobs Blocking Award for the second straight year.

The coaches named first and second teams on offense, defense and special teams. Because of ties in the voting, the first team included two return specialists and the second team included an additional defensive back, bringing the total honored to 26 student-athletes on both the first and second teams. The eight league coaches, who could not vote for their own players or themselves, also selected a 25-man all-freshman team, with 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and three specialists, with no regard for position.

All told, each SoCon team had at least two all-conference selections and one all-freshman pick. Chattanooga put seven players each on the first and second teams and added three all-freshman selections. Samford and Western Carolina followed with nine all-conference picks each, with the Bulldogs putting six on the first team and the Catamounts four. The Citadel put four each on the first and second teams for a total of eight selections. Mercer and Western Carolina paced the league with five all-freshman team picks each.

Ten student-athletes who earned first-team honors last year repeated this season, while two more earned second-team honors this year. Six second-team picks from 2014 earned first-team honors this year, all on the defensive side of the ball, while another five repeated on the second team.

Huesman, who was named offensive player of the year for the third straight season and is one of just six players in league history to earn the award more than once, led the Mocs to a share of their third straight SoCon title and a second straight FCS playoff berth. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native is the only player in the Southern Conference with more than 1,000 yards passing and rushing this year, as he has thrown for 1,745 and run for 1,018, finding the end zone seven times through the air and 11 times on the ground. Huesman, who is second in the league in rushing at 92.5 yards per game, is fifth in passing yards per game (158.6) and fourth in passing efficiency (131.8) and this season became just the fourth player in FCS history to reach 40 touchdowns rushing and 40 passing for his career. Huesman ranks third in SoCon history in career total offense (11,650 yards), rushing yards by a quarterback (3,825) and touchdown passes (59). The senior, who was four-time offensive player of the week and the September player of the month this season, is on the STATS Offensive Player of the Year watch list.

Chattanooga’s Levin, who last year became just the second Moc to earn the Jacobs Blocking Award and the first in 31 years, is now the 11th player in league history to earn the honor in consecutive years and the first since Appalachian State’s Kerry Brown did so in 2006 and 2007. Levin, a junior from Dacula, Ga., anchored an offensive line that paved the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Huesman and first-team All-SoCon running back Derrick Craine. UTC, the only team in the league with a pair of runners over the century mark, ranks third in the league with 232.0 rushing yards per game. Levin is also a first-team all-conference selection for the second straight season.

The Citadel’s Jeter is the Bulldogs’ first-ever SoCon Defensive Player of the Year. The senior defensive lineman has 40 tackles on the year, 22 of which were solo stops. Jeter, the active leader in the SoCon with 19.5 career sacks, produced 8.0 of them this season, good for second in the league and 59 lost yards. The Rock Hill, S.C., native is third in the league with 11.0 tackles for loss, which went for 66 yards, and helped the Bulldogs to their first national ranking since 2012.

Houston, in his second season at the helm for The Citadel, has guided the Bulldogs to an 8-3 mark and a share of the SoCon title for the first time since 1992 with a 6-1 league mark. Houston’s squad picked up a 23-22 win over South Carolina on Saturday for the program’s first win over an FBS program since 1992 and has directed his team to the FCS playoffs for the first time since then, as well, ending a 23-year postseason drought. The Citadel’s SoCon title is just its third all-time, while Houston’s 13 wins in his first two seasons at the school are a school record. Houston has his team atop several SoCon statistical categories, including rushing offense (344.7 yards per game), interceptions (17), scoring margin (+122), turnovers forced (25) and rushing touchdowns (37). He becomes the second Citadel coach to be honored by his peers, joining Kevin Higgins, who shared the award in 2012.

Samford wide receiver McKnight becomes the Bulldogs’ second freshman of the year and first since quarterback Dustin Taliaferro took the honor in 2008, Samford’s first season in the league. McKnight is second on the squad this season with 57 receptions and third with 616 yards and has scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 66-yard strike in his career debut, against Central Arkansas in the season-opener. McKnight also took 13 carries for 88 yards, including a 37-yard scoring run against then-No. 10 Chattanooga. The rookie from Bradenton, Fla., was also the Bulldogs’ primary punt-returner this season, as he led the team with 189 yards on 15 tries and took a 77-yard return for a touchdown in Samford’s season finale against Mercer. McKnight is just the fourth wide receiver to ever earn freshman of the year honors from the coaches.

2015 Coaches All-Southern Conference Football Team

Offensive Player of the Year – Jacob Huesman, Sr., QB, Chattanooga
Defensive Player of the Year – Mitchell Jeter, Sr., DL, The Citadel
Freshman of the Year – Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford
Jacobs Blocking Award – Corey Levin, Jr., OL, Chattanooga
Coach of the Year – Mike Houston, The Citadel

First Team Offense
QB Jacob Huesman, Sr., Chattanooga
RB Derrick Craine, Jr., Chattanooga
RB Detrez Newsome, So., Western Carolina
OL Sam Frye, Sr., The Citadel
OL Joe Turner, Sr., Furman
OL Armando Bonheur, Jr., Samford
OL Corey Levin, Jr., Chattanooga
OL Anton Wahrby, Jr., Wofford
TE Tyler Sexton, Jr., Western Carolina
WR Karel Hamilton, Jr., Samford
WR Aaron Sanders, Jr., VMI

First Team Defense
DL Mitchell Jeter, Sr., The Citadel
DL Michael Pierce, Sr., Samford
DL Keionta Davis, Jr., Chattanooga
DL Caleb Hawkins, Sr., Western Carolina
LB Cory Magwood, Sr., Furman
LB Justin Cooper, Sr., Samford
LB Nakevion Leslie, Jr., Chattanooga
DB Dee Delaney, So., The Citadel
DB Jamerson Blount, Jr., Samford
DB James Bradberry, R-Sr., Samford
DB Cedric Nettles, Jr., Chattanooga

First Team Specialists
PK Henrique Ribeiro, Jr., Chattanooga
P Ian Berryman, Fr., Western Carolina
RS Quinlan Washington, Fr., The Citadel
RS Dane Forlines, Jr., VMI

Second Team Offense
QB Troy Mitchell, Sr., Western Carolina
RB Tee Mitchell, So., Mercer
RB Lorenzo Long, Jr., Wofford
OL Kyle Weaver, Jr., The Citadel
OL Bret Niederreither, Jr., Mercer
OL Gunnar Bromelow, Sr., Samford
OL Synjen Herren, Sr., Chattanooga
OL Josh Wineberg, Sr., Western Carolina
TE Duncan Fletcher, Jr., Furman
WR Andrej Suttles, Jr., Furman
WR Karnorris Benson, Sr., Western Carolina

Second Team Defense
DL Mark Thomas, Sr., The Citadel
DL Toyvian Brand, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Josh Freeman, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Miles Brown, Fr., Wofford
LB Tevin Floyd, Jr., The Citadel
LB A.J. Hampton, Sr., Chattanooga
LB Daniel Riddle, So., Western Carolina
DB Kailik Williams, So., The Citadel
DB Trey Robinson, Jr., Furman
DB Dee Virgin, Jr., Chattanooga
DB Lucas Webb, So., Chattanooga
DB Trey Morgan, Jr., Western Carolina

Second Team Specialists
PK Anthony Pistelli, Sr., Samford
P Austin Barnard, So., Samford
RS C.J. Board, Jr., Chattanooga

All-Freshman Offense
Tyler Davis, OL, The Citadel
Evan McField, RB, The Citadel
Triston Luke, RB, Furman
Marquise Irvin, WR, Mercer
Jimmie Robinson, WR, Mercer
Sam Walker, TE, Mercer
Devlin Hodges, QB, Samford
Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford
Daunte Mauck, WR, VMI
Nathan Dalton, OL, Western Carolina
Zach Weeks, OL, Western Carolina

All-Freshman Defense
Ken Allen, DL, The Citadel
Quinlan Washington, LB, The Citadel
Aaquil Annoor, DB, Furman
Jaylan Reid, DL, Furman
Isaiah Buehler, DE, Mercer
Ahmad Gooden, DL, Samford
C.J. Fritz, DB, Chattanooga
Isaiah Mack, DL, Chattanooga
Montrell Pardue, DB, Chattanooga
Marvin Tillman, DB, Western Carolina
Miles Brown, DL, Wofford

All-Freshman Specialists
Jimmie Robinson, RS, Mercer
Ian Berryman, P, Western Carolina
Logan Howard, PK, Western Carolina

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