ROCK HILL, S.C. --- Ten (10) Tusculum University student-athletes have been honored with the release of the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Football Awards announced league officials Wednesday.
Nine Pioneers were selected to the All-SAC Football Team while rookie defensive end Nelson Louis has been named the 2018 SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year. The SAC Football Awards are chosen by a vote of the league's eight head football coaches.
Tusculum had four players earn All-SAC first team honors including offensive tackle Keveon Broadwater, linebacker Ivan Hogans, free safety Malik Goodman and long snapper Kelly Donnelly. Five Pioneers earned All-SAC second team recognition, including running back Jordon Shippy, offensive tackle Caleb LaFleur, defensive tackle Colton Strickland, linebacker Randy Hooks and cornerback Dee Alford.
The Pioneers finished the season with a 5-5 overall record including 4-3 in the South Atlantic Conference to finish third in the league standings. It is TU's third straight season to finish in the top half of the conference and best overall finish since 2014.
Nelson Louis becomes the fourth TU rookie to be named SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year and the second in the last two years. Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame linebacker Craig Pritchett was the first in 2000, followed by linebacker L'Keith Brown in 2014 and current All-American defensive back Jay Boyd who garnered the honor in 2016.
Louis led the Pioneers with 17 tackles for loss which are tied for sixth most in Tusculum history and were ranked sixth this year in the league. He also led TU with 10 sacks which are tied for the second most in school history and just one off the Tusculum single-season record of 11 set by Tracy Branner in 1998. Louis' 53 total tackles were third on the team as he broke up a pass, forced a fumble and tallied a team-best 12 quarterback hurries.
The 6-3, 265-pound native of Moultrie, Georgia, recorded his best game of the year against arch-rival Carson-Newman where he tallied 13 tackles including four for loss (-13 yds) and two sacks with a QB hurry. He also had eight tackles with four for loss and two sacks last Saturday against Wingate.
Ivan Hogans, a 6-2, 210-pound sophomore from Stockbridge, Georgia was named to the All-SAC first team at linebacker. He led the Tusculum defense with a team-high 92 tackles and finished third in the conference averaging 9.2 tackles per contest. He finished second on the team with 12 tackles for loss with four sacks, two interceptions, three pass break-ups and forced a fumble. The Stockbridge High School alum has recorded at least two tackles in his 20 games as a Pioneer.
Hogans recorded 10 or more tackles five times in 2018 including a season-high 14 at Lenoir-Rhyne. Last week at Wingate, he posted 12 tackles with four tackles for loss and two sacks. In TU's homecoming win over Newberry, Hogans tallied seven tackles with four for loss and a sack.
Malik Goodman, a 5-11, 185-pound junior from Jacksonville, Florida, finished fifth on the team with 48 tackles including five for loss with one sack, one interception, forced a fumble and broke up for passes. He earned a start in all 10 games and posted at least one tackle in all of them including a season-best eight stops in a road win at Mars Hill. He forced a fourth quarter fumble in that game to preserve a 31-28 victory and earned SAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
The Raines High School graduate has recorded 146 career tackles at Tusculum with 15 career passes defended including two interceptions.
Keveon Broadwater was the lone Tusculum honoree on the All-SAC first team offense. The 6-4, 315-pound offensive tackle from Gaffney, South Carolina (Gaffney HS) has been an anchor in the TU trenches where he has started in 31 consecutive games for the Pioneers and was a preseason All-League pick this year. The Tusculum offense boasted one of the top rushing attacks in the conference churning out 173.2 yards per game.
Kelly Donnelly, a 6-2, 210-pound graduate student from Pulaski, Tennessee, bided his time and made the most of his final collegiate campaign to become the 10th TU long-snapper to earn All-SAC honors. Donnelly, who served as a back-up long snapper in his previous three Tusculum season, earned the start this year and became the first Pioneer in six years to earn a spot on the All-SAC first team at the position. He also posted two tackles on special teams with a fumble recovery.
Dee Alford returns to the All-SAC second team for a second consecutive year. Alford finished fourth on the roster with 49 tackles and led TU with 13 passes defended (3rd in SAC) including two interceptions and 11 pass break-ups. The Griffin, Georgia junior also posted four tackles for loss with one sack and forced a fumble.
The 6-0, 170-pound cornerback recorded a season-high nine tackles at Mars Hill and followed with seven stops with a sack against Newberry. He recorded three pass break-ups each against North Greenville and Lenoir-Rhyne.
Alford also shined on Tusculum's special teams as punt returner. His 22 punt returns in 2018 are the third most in Tusculum history. He had 163 punt return yards averaging 7.4 yards per return (4th in SAC).
For his career, Alford is ranked ninth in school history with his 20 career passes defended. He is also tied for eighth in career fumble recoveries (3) and has been credited with 95 career tackles in his 29 games in the Black and Orange.
Randy Hooks, a 5-11, 230-pound senior linebacker from Auburn, Alabama, finished his final TU season with 57 tackles which were second-most on the team. He also tallied seven tackles for loss with two sacks, three pass break-ups and blocked a kick. Hooks made a season-high 11 tackles over Newberry with a sack and later had 10 stops with a sack against Carson-Newman.
Colton Strickland, a junior from Naples, Florida (Naples HS), garnered his inaugural All-SAC accolade as a second team defensive lineman. The 6-2, 300-pounder finished with 36 tackles including eight for loss, four sacks, one pass break-up, blocked a kick and seven QB hurries (2nd most on team). Strickland's best game came against Carson-Newman where he had eight tackles with one behind the line of scrimmage. He also had five tackles with a sack against Limestone and tallied four stops in the homecoming win over Newberry.
Jordon Shippy earns his first All-Conference honor as one of the running backs on the All-SAC second team. The 5-9, 190-pound junior from Gaffney, South Carolina rushed for 694 yards on 116 carries with five touchdowns. He averaged 6.0 yards per rush and 77.1 rushing yards per game which were third in the league. The Gaffney High School graduate ran for a school single-game record 258 yards in Tusculum's SAC opening win over Limestone. Shippy scored three touchdowns in that game while also posting one reception for 21 yards. His 279 all-purpose yards against Limestone are tied for the fourth-most in program history. For his efforts, he was named the SAC and Tennessee Sportswriters Association Offensive Player of the Week.
Shippy has rushed for 1,186 yards in his Tusculum career which are ranked 11th in the TU record book. In 2018, he also rushed for 104 yards in a 41-28 win over Carson-Newman. He also tallied 90 yards on 12 carries a week later at VMI.
Caleb Lafleur rounds out the All-SAC second team offense at tackle up front. Since transferring from ETSU in 2016 the 6-3, 300-pound senior from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has started in 31 consecutive games as a Pioneer.
Tusculum senior Lor'renzo Pratt was the SAC Statistical Champion for kickoff returns, averaging 28 yards per return which is the fourth-best average in Tusculum history. He finished the year with 16 returns for 448 yards including a 91-yard touchdown return against Carson-Newman, which was named the NCAA Division II Play of the Week.
2018 All-South Atlantic Conference Football Team
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB – Austin Brown, Mars Hill
RB – Antonio Wimbush, Carson-Newman
RB – Kenyatta Greene, Catawba
RB – Nijere Peoples, Wingate
WR – Markell Castle, Newberry
WR – J.T. Stokes, Wingate
WR – Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
OL – Phil McDowell, Carson-Newman
OL – Quinzavious Sands, Catawba
OL – Johnathan Black, Wingate
OL – Keveon Broadwater, Tusculum
OL – Jason Poe, Lenoir-Rhyne
TE – Jourdan Osinskie, Catawba
PK – McLean Robertson, Wingate
LS – Kelly Donnelly, Tusculum
RS – Kyle Duggar, Lenoir-Rhyne
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL – Montel Presley, Carson-Newman
DL – Cardell Rawlings, Wingate
DL – Dan Louba, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL – Jamarcus Henderson, Newberry
LB – Jeremiah Ferguson, Catawba
LB – Ivan Hogans, Tusculum
LB – Joe Blue, Newberry
LB – Temoris Coats, Carson-Newman
DB – Joshua Simmons, Limestone
DB – Kyle Duggar, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB – Desmond Fairell, Carson-Newman
DB – Davion Washington, Wingate
DB – Malik Goodman, Tusculum
P – Christopher Birozes, Wingate
P - Shea Rodgers, Newberry
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB – Derrick Evans, Carson-Newman
RB – Jordon Shippy, Tusculum
RB – Xzavion Huff, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB – Austin Barnes, Newberry
WR – T.J. Smith, Lenoir-Rhyne
WR – Cody Rau, Limestone
WR – Will Sweeper, Catawba
OL – Cody Meree, Limestone
OL – Jordan Seal, Carson-Newman
OL – Austin May, Wingate
OL – Caleb LaFleur, Tusculum
OL – Travis James, Mars Hill
TE – Drake Starks, Lenoir-Rhyne
PK – Lee Brackman, Catawba
LS – Dawson Campbell, Carson-Newman
RS – Kenyatta Greene, Catawba
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL – Jordan Hemingway, Catawba
DL – Brian Bemby, Carson-Newman
DL – Auntrell Mack, Wingate
DL – Colton Strickland, Tusculum
LB – Sherrod Williams, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB – Randy Hooks, Tusculum
LB – Elijah Gilmore, Wingate
LB – Robbie Wallace, Wingate
DB – David Vereen, Newberry
DB – Dee Alford, Tusculum
DB – Cris Page, Catawba
SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year: Nijere Peoples, Wingate
SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year: Nelson Louis, Tusculum
SAC Offensive Player of the Year: Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
SAC Defensive Player of the Year: Cardell Rawlings, Wingate
Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Jason Poe, Lenoir-Rhyne
SAC Coach of the Year: Drew Cronic, Lenoir-Rhyne