Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Campbell QB Hajj-Malik Williams Leads Preseason All-Big South Team

CHARLOTTE ( – Campbell sophomore quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams (Atlanta, Ga.) and Kennesaw State redshirt-senior linebacker Bryson Armstrong (Marietta, Ga.) have been voted the Big South Conference’s 2020 Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by the league’s head football coaches and media panel, it was announced today.

Campbell QB Hajj-Malik Williams
Williams is the first sophomore to earn the league’s top preseason offensive honor and is Campbell’s first-ever Big South preseason Player of the Year honoree since the Camels joined the league in 2018.  The Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2019, Williams enjoyed a record-breaking campaign in his first year leading the Camels.  A finalist for the Jerry Rice National Freshman of the Year Award (finishing 10th in the voting), Williams was a Hero Sports Freshman All-America First-Team selection a season ago.  He received four Big South Freshman of the Week nods as well as five STATS Honorable Mention weekly 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 during the regular-season, 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 last year -- and caught a touchdown pass against Hampton on Oct. 19.

Williams received three first-place votes and 25 total points in the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year voting, ahead of Charleston Southern quarterback Jack Chambers (three first-place votes and 15 points).

Armstrong is now a three-time recipient of the conference’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honor –- the first player in league history with this distinction.  A three-time First-Team All-Conference selection in his first three years at KSU, as well as last year’s Big South Defensive Player of the Year, Armstrong earned five All-America plaudits in 2019 and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’s top defensive player.  Named Second-Team All-American by the AFCA, Associated Press and Hero Sports in addition to Third-Team All-America honors from STATS LLC and Phil Steele, Armstrong finished 2019 with a team-high 95 total tackles during the season -- including 51 solo stops.  A member of the nation’s third-ranked defense, Armstrong totaled 12.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 2019.  He helped the Owls lead the Big South in total defense (278.7), scoring defense (18.7) and rushing defense (88.9).  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 seven times -- including five games with 10+, and his 95 stops were 39 more than his next-closest teammate.  Armstrong also recorded a tackle-for-loss in 10 of his 14 games played.

The 2017 STATS Jerry Rice Award Winner as the FCS National Freshman of the Year, Armstrong enters his final season 16 tackles shy of 300 in his career, and has posted 67 stops in seven career FCS Playoff games (9.57 average).  He collected nine first-place votes and 35 points in the preseason balloting, ahead of Charleston Southern defensive lineman Shaundre Mims (two first-place votes and 17 points).

Williams and Armstrong were also voted to the preseason All-Conference First-Team, which is comprised of 12 offensive and defensive positions, plus specialty positions.  A preseason Honorable Mention squad features the next highest vote-getters at each position where available.  Kennesaw State and Monmouth tied for the most preseason selections with 10, followed by Charleston Southern (9), Campbell and Gardner-Webb with six each, North Alabama had three honorees, and Hampton had one selection.  The 2020 preseason All-Conference team appears below.

2020 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference Teams

QB    Hajj-Malik Williams, Soph., Campbell
RB    Isaac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State
RB    Juwon Farri, R-Soph., Monmouth
WR   Izaiah Gathings, Jr., Gardner-Webb
WR   Jadakis Bonds, Jr., Hampton
WR   Lonnie Moore IV, R-Sr., Monmouth
WR   Terrance Greene Jr., R-Jr., Monmouth (tie)
WR   Caleb Snead, R-Jr., Campbell (tie)
TE    Gene Scott, Jr., Monmouth
OL    AJ Farris, R-Sr., Monmouth
OL    Chris Dye, Sr., Kennesaw State
OL    Jake Lassiter, Sr., Kennesaw State
OL    Justin Szuba, Jr., Monmouth
OL    William Nana-Fabu, Jr., Kennesaw State

DL    Shaundre Mims, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
DL    Brevin Allen, Jr., Campbell
DL    Nick Salley, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
DL    Anton Williams, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
LB    Bryson Armstrong, R-Sr., Kennesaw State
LB    Da’Quan Grimes, R-Sr., Monmouth
LB    Darien Reynolds, Sr., Gardner-Webb
LB    Justice Galloway-Velazquez, Jr., Campbell
DB    Anthony Budd, Sr., Monmouth
DB    Cody Cline, Soph., Charleston Southern
DB    Darion Slade, R-Sr., Campbell
DB    Justin Terry, Sr., Monmouth

PK    Alex Usry, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
P      Joe Gurley, Sr., North Alabama
KR    Lonnie Moore, R-Sr., Monmouth
PR    Devron Harper, Soph., Gardner-Webb
LS    Ethan Ray, R-Sr., Charleston Southern

QB    Jack Chambers, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
RB    Shaquil Terry, Sr., Kennesaw State
WR   Garris Schwarting, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
OL    Tyler McLellan, R-Jr., Campbell (tie)
OL    JT Melton, R-Jr., Charleston Southern (tie)
DL    Wallace Cowins Jr., Sr., North Alabama
LB    Cade Hamilton, Jr., Gardner-Webb
DB    Demetrius Pettway, Jr., Kennesaw State
PK    Joe Gurley, Sr., North Alabama
P      Nicholas Jones, Sr., Kennesaw State
KR    Devron Harper, Soph., Gardner-Webb (tie)
KR    Issac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State (tie)
PR    Issac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State
LS    Will Mullins, Sr., Gardner-Webb

Hajj-Malik Williams, Soph., QB, Campbell (Atlanta, Ga.)

Bryson Armstrong, R-Sr., LB, Kennesaw State (Marietta, Ga)