SoCon Announces Coaches All-Conference Football Team
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 11/24/2009
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Offensive Player of the Year Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State
Courtesy: Dave Mayo, Appalachian State

Edwards, Beard, Johnson, Acitelli, Moore and Huesman Earn Major Awards


SPARTANBURG, S.C. League champion Appalachian State earned three of the major awards as the Southern Conference football coaches selected the annual all-conference teams and award winners. ASU quarterback Armanti Edwards was chosen as the Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season while teammate Mario Acitelli, a senior offensive lineman, was honored with the Jacobs Blocking Award, which is given annually by the Jacobs family to the top blocker in the league.


Additionally, Mountaineer head coach Jerry Moore earned his seventh Coach of the Year honor, sharing the award with Chattanooga’s first-year coach Russ Huesman.


Chattanooga senior defensive end Josh Beard was tabbed as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year while running back Michael Johnson of Western Carolina earned Freshman of the Year honors.


Edwards, the SoCon’s first back-to-back Offensive Player of the Year winner since VMI’s Thomas Haskins in 1995-96, leads the league in total offense, scoring, passing efficiency and passing yards per game, and he ranks fourth in rushing. In 2009, he amassed at least 300 yards of total offense in 7-of-9 games and topped the 400-yard mark three times. By guiding ASU to an 8-0 SoCon record and another SoCon title in 2009, the senior from Greenwood, S.C., became the first starting quarterback to ever guide his team to four consecutive SoCon championships. For his career, Edwards is the only player in Division I history to have 9,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing, and he currently ranks fourth in FCS history in total offense (13,862).


Beard, a 6-1, 250-pound senior defensive end, is tied for the national lead with 12 sacks on the season, a number that equals the ninth-highest single-season total in league history. He was an integral part of Chattanooga’s dramatic turnaround in 2009, as the Mocs’ defense surrendered 12 fewer points and 135 yards less on average than a season ago. In addition to his sacks, the native of Lincolnton, Ga., tallied 62 tackles and four quarterback hurries. Beard is the first Chattanooga player to win a league player of the year award since Troy Boeck shared Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1990.


Johnson was a mainstay in the Western Carolina lineup throughout his inaugural campaign, earning starts in nine contests and rushing for more than 100 yards on two occasions. Johnson was the top freshman rusher in the SoCon this season, compiling 568 yards and four touchdowns, and each of his 100-yard efforts game against top 10 opponents in Elon and Appalachian State. The Decatur, Ga., native also added 25 receptions out of the backfield for 137 yards.


Moore’s Coach of the Year citation marks the seventh time that he has been honored in such a way by his peers. His Mountaineers completed their second straight perfect season in the Southern Conference while securing their fifth consecutive league championship. ASU’s current 20-game conference win streak is tied for the second-longest streak of its kind in the league’s 89-year history.


Huesman was the architect of one of the greatest turnarounds in league history, guiding his alma mater to a 6-5 overall mark and 4-4 record in league play one year removed from a 1-11, 0-8 campaign. The five-win turnaround ties for the best in school history, and the results were noticeable in the stands as well where UTC averaged over 10,000 fans per game for the first time in Finley Stadium history and nearly doubled the attendance average from a year ago. Huesman’s six victories are the most by a first-year Chattanooga coach since Bill Oliver went 8-3 in 1980.


Acitelli was tabbed as the league’s top blocker as he anchored a unit that helped produce one of the top offenses in the nation. The Mountaineers finished the regular season rated second nationally in total offense (478.9 ypg) and fourth in scoring offense (35.7 ppg) while leading the conference in both statistics. The Charlotte, N.C., native has logged 43 starts in his collegiate career, including time spent as both left guard and left tackle, the position he held in 2009. Acitelli is the ninth Mountaineer to win the Jacobs Blocking Award and the fourth in the past five seasons.


Appalachian State led all schools with 15 players selected to the all-conference team, including nine first-team honorees. Elon had 11 players chosen, followed by Chattanooga and The Citadel with six each and Samford with five.


Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players in the voting process.



2009 Coaches All-Southern Conference Football Team


Offensive Player of the Year Armanti Edwards, Sr., QB, Appalachian State

Defensive Player of the Year Josh Beard, Sr., DE, Chattanooga

Freshman of the Year Michael Johnson, RB, Western Carolina

Jacobs Blocking Award Mario Acitelli, Sr., OL, Appalachian State

Co-Coaches of the Year Jerry Moore, Appalachian State and Russ Huesman, Chattanooga


First Team Offense

QB    Armanti Edwards, Sr., Appalachian State

RB     Chris Evans, Jr., Samford

RB     Devon Moore, Jr., Appalachian State

OL     Mario Acitelli, Sr., Appalachian State

OL     David Harrison, Sr., Elon

OL     Pat Illig, Jr., Wofford

OL     Jon Weber, Sr., Samford

OL     Chris Werden, Sr., Elon

TE     Ben Jorden, So., Appalachian State

WR    Terrell Hudgins, Sr., Elon

WR    Andre Roberts, Sr., The Citadel


First Team Defense

DL     Josh Beard, Sr., Chattanooga

DL     Jabari Fletcher, Jr., Appalachian State

DL     Andre Campbell, Sr., Elon

DL     Eric Ludwig, Sr., Elon

LB     Jacque Roman, Sr., Appalachian State

LB     D.J. Smith, Jr., Appalachian State

LB     Bryce Smith, Jr., Samford

LB     (tie) Joshua Jones, So., Elon

DB    Mark LeGree, Jr., Appalachian State

DB    Karlos Sullivan, Sr., Elon

DB    Buster Skrine, Jr., Chattanooga

DB    Cortez Gilbert, Sr., Appalachian State


First Team Specialists

PK     Craig Camay, Sr., Chattanooga

P       Chris Tommie, Sr., Wofford

RS     Andre Roberts, Sr., The Citadel



Second Team Offense

QB    Scott Riddle, Jr., Elon

RB     Jamal Shuman, So., Elon

RB     Tersoo Uhaa, So., Furman

OL     Tyler Haynes, Sr., Furman

OL     Chris Harr, Jr., Chattanooga

OL     Daniel DeHaven, Sr., The Citadel

OL     Clark Bishop, Jr., Wofford

OL     Brett Irvin, Jr., Appalachian State

TE     Alex Sellars, Jr., The Citadel

TE     (tie) Chris Truss, Sr., Furman

WR    Blue Cooper, Sr., Chattanooga

WR    CoCo Hillary, Jr., Appalachian State


Second Team Defense

DL     Terrence Reese, Sr., The Citadel

DL     Brent Russell, Fr., Georgia Southern

DL     Malcolm Bennett, Sr., Appalachian State

DL     Markeith Wylie, Sr., Georgia Southern

DL     (tie) John Michael Clay, Jr., Samford

LB     Adrian McLeod, Sr., Western Carolina

LB     Joseph Thornton, Sr., Chattanooga

LB     Jordon Gilmore, Sr., The Citadel

DB    Cameron McGlenn, Sr., Elon

DB    Nolan Ward, Sr., Elon

DB    Julian Hicks, Sr., Furman

DB    Ed Gainey, So., Appalachian State


Second Team Specialists

PK     Jason Vitaris, Jr., Appalachian State

P       Bob Hooper, So., Samford

RS     CoCo Hillary, Jr., Appalachian State


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