Reyes, Bryant among 9 Bucs to earn All-Big South honors
CHARLESTON, SC -
Following a record-shattering season, junior running back Christian Reyes leads a list of seven Charleston Southern Buccaneers to earn All-Big South honors as part of the year-end awards, league officials announced on Tuesday.
Reyes is joined by offensive guard Clayton Truitt and linebacker Calvin Bryant as first-team selections for the Buccaneers. Four Bucs earned second team nods, led by nose tackle James Smith, defensive end Dylan Black, cornerback ElijahLee, and safety Demaris Freeman.
Quarterback Danny Croghan III, who was 5-1 as a starter, was named the Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year and senior tight end Kirby Broome was named to the Big South All-Academic Team.
Reyes set the school record for carries and rushing yards in a season, as well as tying the single-season record for rushing touchdowns in leading the Bucs to a 10-3 record. The junior finished with 1,254 yards on 245 carries and averaged over five yards per carry. He twice earned Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors following wins over Charlotte and then-No. 3 Coastal Carolina. He had a school-record 34 carries and 167 yards in the Bucs 27-24 win at Appalachian State in September. The Rouge River, Ore.-native also had six 100-yard games and had more than 20 carries in eight games.
Making Reyes' season possible, as well as the Bucs' dominant ball control, was Truitt. He started 12 games at right guard in leading the Bucs to 232.9 rushing yards per game and an average of 33:45 minutes per game in time of possession, which led the nation for a number of weeks during the season. He helped the Bucs plow their way to 323 rushing yards in their win over Coastal Carolina.
Bryant was the anchor in the middle of the Bucs' defense. He earned Big South Player of the Week and Sports PerformanceNational Player of the Week honors following a career-high 12 tackles in the Bucs' season-opening win at The Citadel, 32-29. CSU was second in the Big South in scoring defense and among the Top-20 nationally until the season's final week.
Four Bucs earned spots on the All-Big South Second Team Defense.
Junior nose tackle James Smith powered the middle of the Bucs' defensive line, notching seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks during a breakout campaign. His best game came against Colorado, where he stacked up four tackles and a sack. He also had five tackles in the Bucs' win at App. State and a sack against Coastal Carolina.
Playing alongside Smith, junior defensive end Dylan Black also had a breakout season. His sack and fumble recovery for a touchdown sealed CSU's win at Norfolk State in September. He finished the year with 12.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in filling the void left by injured defensive end Will Hunt, who was the Big South's leader in sacks at the time of his injury.
Senior cornerback Eli Lee led the Bucs with two interceptions and seven pass break-ups in his final season as a Buc. Lee had a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown against Gardner-Webb and was fourth on the team with 54 tackles. He had 41 solo tackles.
Junior safety Demaris Freeman led the Bucs with 90 tackles including 45 solo stops. He was second on the team with five pass break-ups and had double digits in stops three times. He had a career-high 13 tackles in the Bucs' win at Norfolk State.
Croghan was named the Big South's top offensive freshman after he went 5-1 as the Bucs' starter in replacing the injured Malcolm Dixon. Croghan tossed the winning touchdown pass – just his third career attempt - in the Bucs' upset at Appalachian State. He would go on to spark wins over Coastal Carolina, Charlotte, and Presbyterian, completing 57 percent of his passes for 1,014 yards and seven touchdowns. The Charleston-area product twice was named Big South Freshman of the Week following wins over VMI and CCU. He completed 18-of-27 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs' road win over the Keydets, CSU's first conference road win in over two seasons.
Croghan is the second quarterback to be honored as Big South Freshman of the Year, and received 12 first-place votes and 26 points, ahead of Coastal Carolina running back De'Angelo Henderson (three first-place votes and 13 points) and Presbyterian College quarterback Heys McMath (one first-place vote and nine points).
Broome was named to the Big South All-Academic Team. The senior has a 3.65 GPA as a Bio-Chemistry major. The Mauldin, S.C. native caught two passes this season for 69 yards before his season was cut short by injury. He had a touchdown catch as a junior against Liberty.
Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro and linebacker Quinn Backus have been voted the 2013 Big South Football Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Coastal Carolina's LaDarius Hawthorne was voted the inaugural Special Teams Player of the Year, while Liberty linebacker Scott Hyland was named as the football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
A finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Taliaferro led the Big South with a school-record 1,487 rushing yards and 1,596 all-purpose yards. Taliaferro received 14 of the 16 first-place votes cast and 30 total points to finish ahead of runner-up Christian Reyes(Charleston Southern), who received the remaining first-place votes and eight total points.
Backus is the third-ever repeat winner of the Conference's Defensive Player of the Year award and first since Gardner-Webb'sBrian Johnston in 2006-07. Backus is the Big South's leading tackler for the second-straight season with 111 stops, which includes a League-high 68 solo hits -- third-most in a single-season in Conference
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. Liberty led the way with 16 total selections, just ahead of Coastal Carolina (15) and Gardner-Webb (12). The Flames and Chanticleers tied for the League-high with nine First-Team honorees.
2013 BIG SOUTH FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS AND ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS
QB Alex Ross, R-Soph., Coastal Carolina
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., Coastal Carolina
RB Christian Reyes, Jr., Charleston Southern
WR Kenny Cook, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb
WR Matt Hazel, Sr., Coastal Carolina
WR Darrin Peterson, Soph., Liberty
TE Brandon Apon, R-Sr., Liberty
OL Jamey Cheatwood, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL Hunter Steward, Sr., Liberty
OL Chad Hamilton, R-Jr., Coastal Carolina
OL Drew Herring, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL Clayton Truitt, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL Shaquille Riddick, Jr., Gardner-Webb
DL Preston Pemasa, Sr., Gardner-Webb
DL Chima Uzowihe, Soph., Liberty
DL O.J. Le'iatua Mau, Soph., Gardner-Webb
LB Quinn Backus, Jr., Coastal Carolina
LB Tanner Burch, Jr., Gardner-Webb
LB Nick Sigmon, R-Jr., Liberty
LB Calvin Bryant, Jr., Charleston Southern
DB Jacob Hagen, R-Jr., Liberty
DB Walt Aikens, R-Sr., Liberty
DB Kevin Fogg, R-Sr., Liberty
DB Keon Williams, Sr., Gardner-Webb
PK Alex Catron, Jr., Coastal Carolina
P Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
LS Richard Wright, R-Sr., Liberty
KR Devin Brown, Fr., Coastal Carolina
PR Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College
QB Josh Woodrum, R-Soph., Liberty
RB Desmond Rice, Jr., Liberty
RB Juanne Blount, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb
WR Tobi Antigha, Jr., Presbyterian College
WR Sam Patterson, Soph., VMI
WR DeMario Bennett, Sr., Coastal Carolina
TE Mike Estes, R-Fr., Gardner-Webb
OL Jonathan Burgess, Soph., Liberty
OL Mitch Hansen, R-Jr., Liberty
OL Will Lucas, Sr., VMI
OL Greg Ray, R-Jr., Liberty
OL Tim Fowler, R-Sr., Presbyterian College
DL Cory Freeman, R-Sr., Liberty
DL James Smith, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL Dylan Black, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL Calvin Hollenhorst, R-Soph., Coastal Carolina
LB Mike McClure, Sr., Coastal Carolina
LB Chad Geter, Soph., Gardner-Webb
LB Weston Reber, R-Sr., VMI
LB Scott Hyland, Sr., Liberty
DB Elijah Lee, Sr., Charleston Southern
DB Demaris Freeman, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
DB Richie Sampson, Soph., Coastal Carolina
DB Denzel Rice, Jr., Coastal Carolina
PK Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
P David Eberhardt, R-Sr., VMI
LS Hudson Smith, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
KR Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College
PR Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., Coastal Carolina
Kirby Broome, Sr., TE, Charleston Southern
Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., WR, Coastal Carolina
Lucas Beatty, R-Jr., QB, Gardner-Webb
Scott Hyland, Sr., LB, Liberty
Stephen Doar, R-Soph., P, Presbyterian College
Ty Garvin, R-Jr., LB, VMI
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., RB, Coastal Carolina
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Quinn Backus, Jr., LB, Coastal Carolina
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LaDarius Hawthorne, Sr., DB, Coastal Carolina
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Daniel Croghan III, R-Fr., QB, Charleston Southern