Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Big South Announces 2019 Football All-Conference Teams and Annual Award Winners

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) – Monmouth redshirt-senior quarterback Kenji Bahar (Baltimore, Md.) has been voted the 2019 Big South Football Offensive Player of the Year, while Kennesaw State redshirt-junior linebacker Bryson Armstrong (Marietta, Ga.) has been voted the Defensive Player of the Year by the conference’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced today.  In addition, Campbell quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams (Atlanta, Ga.) is the Offensive Freshman of the Year, while Charleston Southern defensive back Cody Cline (Concord, N.C.) is the Defensive Freshman of the Year honoree.  Charleston Southern placekicker Alex Usry (McDonough, Ga.) was voted Special Teams Player of the Year and Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan was selected Coach of the Year.  North Alabama strong safety K.J. Smith (Perry, Ga.) was voted the football Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league’s sports information directors.

Bahar is Monmouth’s first Big South Offensive Player of the Year honoree since the Hawks joined the conference in 2014.  He was the league’s top passer during the regular-season with 3,262 yards (fourth-most in Big South history) and 28 touchdowns, and paced the conference in total offense with 3,454 yards and 287.8 per game.  Bahar completed 254-of-384 passing attempts for a 66.1 completion percentage, had a league-high five 300-yard passing games and six 300 total offense games, and threw multiple touchdowns in a game eight times.  A finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Bahar was a three-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week honoree in 2019 and leads the conference in 11 offensive categories.  He threw a touchdown pass in every game this year, and his 28 scoring strikes are the second-most in a season in league history.  Bahar threw for five touchdowns against North Alabama on Nov. 9 and had four in the regular-season finale against Hampton.  In six Big South games in 2019, Bahar was 104-of-153 passing ( =68.0 percent) for 1,655 yards and 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions.  He gained 424 yards of offense in Monmouth’s road win at Kennesaw State on Nov. 2, and posted four games with a passing touchdown and rushing TD.

Bahar was a near-unanimous selection as he received 22 of the 23 first-place votes cast in the Offensive Player of the Year voting to finish ahead of runner-up Jadakis Bonds of Hampton.

Armstrong is the second consecutive Kennesaw State player to be voted the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.  A finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’s top defensive player, Armstrong recorded a team-high 73 total tackles during the regular-season -- including 44 solo stops.  A member of the nation’s fifth-ranked defense, Armstrong has totaled 10.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season.  He has helped the Owls lead the Big South in total defense (277.8), scoring defense (17.9) and rushing defense (90.8).  Armstrong was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 28 following his 10-tackle, 2.5-TFL, 1.0-sack effort over North Alabama.  He led KSU in tackles five times -- including three games with 10+, and his 73 stops are 28 more than his next-closest teammate.  Armstrong also recorded a tackle-for-loss in eight of his 11 games played.

Armstrong received six first-place votes and 19 points in the voting to edge out Presbyterian College linebacker Colby Campbell (16 points and seven first-place votes) and Monmouth linebacker Da’Quan Grimes (13 points and three first-place votes) for the defensive honor.

Williams enjoyed a record-breaking campaign in his first year leading the Camels.  A finalist for the
Hajj-Malik Williams
Photo Credit: Campbell Sports
Jerry Rice National Freshman of the Year Award, Williams received four Big South Freshman of the Week nods as well as five STATS Honorable Mention accolades in 2019.  Williams established Big South-freshman records for passing touchdowns (17), total offensive yards (2,686), rushing yards by a freshman quarterback (664) and rushing touchdowns by a freshman signal-caller (9).  He led all Big South freshmen AND quarterbacks in rushing yards, and passed for 200 yards and rushed for 100 yards in a game twice in 2019.  Williams posted a league-high six games with both a rush TD and passing touchdown, was second with four games accumulating 300+ yards of offense, and was third overall in total offense yards.  The first freshman quarterback in Big South history with multiple touchdown passes in the first three games of a season, Williams had a TD pass in his first 10 collegiate appearances and six multi-TD pass efforts.  He was responsible for 27 total touchdowns this year -- including a touchdown reception against Hampton on Oct. 19.

Williams totaled 16 first-place votes in the Offensive Freshman of the Year voting to finish ahead of Gardner-Webb’s Devron Harper (seven).

Cline led all Big South freshmen on the season with 73 tackles (48 solo) as well as per game with 6.1.  He also ranked seventh in the conference in passes defended in conference play and tallied six overall.  Cline was the Nov. 2 Big South Freshman of the Week after recording 11 tackles and an interception at Gardner-Webb.  Tied as the Buccaneers’ second-leading tackler in 2019, Cline registered 10 stops vs. Monmouth, as well as nine stops and 1.5 tackles-for-loss in CSU’s six-point loss to nationally-ranked North Carolina A&T.  He tallied at least seven stops in a game five times.  Cline received 14 first-place votes in winning the Defensive Freshman of the Year voting, ahead of Kennesaw State’s Markeith Montgomery (eight).

Usry is the second Charleston Southern Buccaneer to earn the Big South Special Teams Player of the Year honor since the award’s creation in 2013.  He finished the year with a team-high 82 points, as he was a perfect 25-of-25 on PAT attempts and went 19-of-25 on field goal tries.  Usry’s 19 field goals led the Big South and tied for the third-most in a season in league annals.  He tied the Big South single-season record with seven made field goals from at least 40 yards -- three of which were 50+ yard kicks.  Usry had a streak of 11 consecutive field goals made, the second-longest streak in conference history, and in that span he tied the Big South single-game record with four field goals in Week 8 at North Alabama.  He became the first kicker in Big South history to make two field goals of at least 49 yards in the same game when he booted a 49- and 50-yarder at Kennesaw State in Week 7.  Usry was a four-time Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honoree this season, had three 10-point kicking games, and had the league’s longest field goal with a career-long 52-yarder against UNA.  Usry finished with 22 total points (seven first-place votes) in the voting, just ahead of Gardner-Webb return specialist Devron Harper (20 points and six first-place votes).

Callahan is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award after leading the Hawks to a 10-2 record, an undefeated 6-0 league mark for the outright Big South championship, and a No. 11 national ranking after entering the Top 25 polls on Nov. 4.  The squad won 10 games for the first time since 2006 -- including wins over FCS Playoff participants Albany (38-35) and Kennesaw State (45-21).  The victory over the Owls ended KSU’s 12-game Big South win streak, the Owls’ league-record 17-game regular-season home win streak and broke Kennesaw State’s league mark of 23 consecutive regular-season FCS victories.  Monmouth has scored 40 points in a game six times this season, and surpassed 500 yards of offense five times in 2019 -- including 696 vs. Hampton, 599 vs. Gardner-Webb and 517 at Kennesaw State.  Monmouth is the Big South’s top offensive team with 487.4 yards and second with 36.3 points per game.  In six Big South contests, Callahan guided the Hawks to 44.8 points and 555.5 yards per game, while the defense held league foes to 14.2 points and 307.0 yards.  Monmouth carries an eight-game winning streak into the FCS Playoffs and is averaging 35.6 points and 519.4 yards of offense in that span, while holding the opposition to 12.4 points and 309.8 yards.

Callahan received 17 of 23 first-place votes and 60 total points, ahead of Charleston Southern head coach Autry Denson (three first-place votes and 29 points) and Kennesaw State’s Brian Bohannon (one first-place vote and 22 points).

Smith is a 4.00 student in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Health, and on the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot following his Academic All-District selection.  A two-year starter at UNA, Smith finished fifth on the squad this season with 54 tackles, in addition to two interceptions.

The Big South also announced its All-Conference first and second teams.  The squads are comprised of 12 offensive and defensive players and five special teams players, plus any ties.  Monmouth led the way with 17 total selections (nine first team), while Charleston Southern was second with 11 honorees (eight first team).  Kennesaw State was next with eight, followed by Campbell (seven), Gardner-Webb (seven), Hampton (three), North Alabama (three) and Presbyterian (two).

Bahar, Armstrong, Usry and Cline each earned a spot on the All-Conference team.  The list of 2019 All-Conference members and award winners, as well as the All-Academic Team, appears below.


QB    Kenji Bahar, R-Sr., Monmouth
RB    Pete Guerriero, R-Jr., Monmouth
RB    Shai McKenzie, Gr., Hampton
WR   Jadakis Bonds, Soph., Hampton
WR   Izaiah Gathings, Soph., Gardner-Webb
WR   Lonnie Moore IV, R-Jr., Monmouth
TE    Shawn Clark, R-Sr., Monmouth
OL    AJ Farris, Sr., Monmouth
OL    John Gallina, Gr., Monmouth
OL    Chris Dye, R-Jr., Kennesaw State
OL    Jake Lassiter, Jr., Kennesaw State
OL    Jacob Cuddington, R-Sr., Campbell

DL    Nick Salley, Sr., Charleston Southern
DL    Desmond Johnson Jr., R-Sr., Kennesaw State
DL    Anton Williams, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL    Shaundre Mims, R-Soph., Charleston Southern
LB    Bryson Armstrong, R-Jr., Kennesaw State
LB    Colby Campbell, Jr., Presbyterian
LB    J.D. Sosebee, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
LB    Justice Galloway-Velazquez, Soph., Campbell
DB    Anthony Budd, Jr., Monmouth
DB    Tymere Berry, R-Sr., Monmouth
DB    Cody Cline, Fr., Charleston Southern
DB    Darion Slade, R-Jr., Campbell

PK    Alex Usry, R-Soph., Charleston Southern
P      Kyle Reighard, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
LS    Ethan Ray, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
KR    Devron Harper, Fr., Gardner-Webb 
PR    Eddie Morales, Soph., Monmouth

QB    Christian Lopez, Sr., North Alabama
RB    Bronson Rechsteiner, Sr., Kennesaw State
RB    Jayln Cagle, Sr., Gardner-Webb
WR   Terrance Greene Jr., Jr., Monmouth
WR   Keith Pearson, Jr., Presbyterian
WR   Kameron Brown, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
TE    A.J. Alexander, Gr., Gardner-Webb
OL    Justin Szuba, Jr., Monmouth
OL    Stephen Haralambis, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
OL    Zack Evans, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
OL    Mahmoud Shabana, Sr., Monmouth
OL    Tyler McLellan, R-Soph., Campbell

DL    Erik Massey, Jr., Monmouth
DL    Josh Ramseur, Gr., Gardner-Webb
DL    Brevin Allen, Soph., Campbell
DL    Damien Dozier, R-Jr., Campbell
LB    Darien Reynolds, Jr., Gardner-Webb
LB    Da’Quan Grimes, Sr., Monmouth
LB    Cade Hamilton, Soph., Gardner-Webb
LB    Kareem Taylor, Jr., Kennesaw State
DB    Christian Angulo, R-Jr., Hampton
DB    Justin Terry, Jr., Monmouth
DB    D’Andre Hart, Sr., North Alabama
DB    Le’Vonte Larry, R-Sr., Kennesaw State

PK    Matt Mosquera, Sr., Monmouth
P      Brad Dennis, R-Sr., Campbell
LS    Kent Vines, Soph., Monmouth
KR    Andre Little, R-Soph., North Alabama
PR    Isaac Foster, R-Soph., Kennesaw State

Michael Wooten, TE, R-Sr., Campbell
Justin McIntire, LB, Jr., Charleston Southern
Cameron McCutcheon, CB, Soph., Gardner-Webb
Christian Angulo, DB, R-Sr., Hampton
Cole Loden, S, Jr., Kennesaw State
Justin Szuba, OL, Soph., Monmouth
K.J. Smith, SS, Sr., North Alabama
Cooper Short, LS, Jr., Presbyterian

Kenji Bahar, QB, R-Sr., Monmouth

Bryson Armstrong, LB, R-Jr., Kennesaw State

Alex Usry, PK, R-Soph., Charleston Southern

Hajj-Malik Williams, QB, Fr., Campbell

Cody Cline, DB, Fr., Charleston Southern

Kevin Callahan, Monmouth

K.J. Smith, North Alabama