Charleston Southern senior cornerback Charles James has been named to the 2012 All-Big South Conference Football First Team, while junior defensive back Elijah Leeand freshman wide receiver Larry Jones III have been named to the second team as part of the conference's postseason awards, the league announced on Tuesday afternoon. Bucs' senior center Nick Kemper was named to the Big South All-Academic team.
The group led the Bucs to a 5-6 finish and a 3-3 record in Big South play in 2012. CSU finished fourth in league play and went 4-1 at Buccaneer Field, winning their final four home games of the season. The Bucs are also one of the nation's top teams in win improvement from a season ago.
"Proud of the accomplishments of the 2012 team," CSU head coach Jay Mills said. "From where they were predicted to finish (.500 in Big South play) is something we're excited to build upon for the future. The young men who received the awards are a reflection of the progress of the team."
James was the senior leader and Lee a key piece in one of the nation's top defensive backfields. The Bucs finished the season as the nation's No. 3 pass defense, allowing 145.5 yards passing per game.
James finished the year with two interceptions despite missing almost all of two games with an arm injury. His final career pick sealed the Bucs' 28-10 win over Gardner-Webb on Senior Day and gave James his 12th career interception, setting the all-time mark at CSU. He led his team in pass break-ups and interceptions, while, as a unit, CSU held its final four home opponents to less than a 50 percent completion percentage in all four games and allowed just one touchdown pass in the four contests.
"Growth personally and professionally and the recognition that Charles has received is well deserved," Mills said Tuesday. "We know Charles best days of football are still ahead of him. The part that does not show up in the award is the fact that he is as good as a team leader, and passionate of a teammate, as I've ever had in my 30 years of experience."
Lee, a junior-college transfer, became a starter in the Bucs' secondary early in the season after injuries opened the door, and quickly seized the opportunity. His first career interception sparked a second half comeback in a 31-21 win over Presbyterian. He also finished as the team's leading tackler with 70 and all three pass break-ups.
Jones III showed potential in camp for the Bucs and it blossomed into production down the stretch of the season. Jones caught 21 balls over the final seven games and averaged 20.5 yards per catch, which led the Big South among starters. He finished with four touchdowns and 431 yards in his freshman season.
Jones III twice was named the Crons Brand Freshman of the Week after catching a pair of touchdowns against VMI and adding four catches for 83 yards against PC.
"It was great to see how they went from unknowns to receiving a great amount of respect from the people who vote on these awards," Mills said of Lee and Jones III. "I'm excited that they'll be returning. I'll be expecting for them to be pushing for first team next year as well as several other players."
Kemper was the anchor of the Bucs' offensive line in his final season at CSU. The fifth-year center is a graduate student earning his Master's in Criminal Justice and has a 3.83 grade-point average.
"I am very proud of Nick," Mills added. "He transferred here and has already graduated. Now closing in on a Master's degree. Next he'll go to law school. He had his finest year his senior year and peaked on his way out."
Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet (Riverhead, N.Y.) and Coastal Carolina linebacker Quinn Backus (Greenwood, S.C.) have been voted the 2012 Big South Football Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, as voted by the league's head coaches.
Liberty quarterback Josh Woodrum (Roanoke, Va.) was tabbed Freshman of the Year, while Coastal Carolina's Joe Moglia was voted Coach of the Year. In addition, the Big South's sports information directors voted Liberty wide receiver Pat Kelly (New Orleans, La.) as the football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Maysonet was a unanimous selection in repeating as the Big South's Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the third consecutive back-to-back winner of the award. He finished the regular-season with Big South records of 1,721 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, 21 overall scores, three 200-yard rushing games, eight multi-touchdown games and his 156.5 yards per game is pacing ahead of the League's single-season mark. A Walter Payton Award candidate, Maysonet rushed for more than 100 yards in eight games -- including six with more than 165, and tied the Big South record with five-straight multi-TD games to close out the regular-season. In 2012 he was the first player in Big South history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in his teams' first seven games, as well as the first in League annals with a touchdown in every regular-season contest. Maysonet, who currently ranks first in the nation in rushing yards per game, rushed for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns in six Big South games to help the Seawolves claim their fourth-straight Big South championship. He is also the first player in the Conference record books to record more than 2,000 all-purpose yards during the regular-season (2,046). This season Maysonet rushed for 220 yards in Stony Brook's win at Army, a career-high 233 at Coastal Carolina and 212 at Presbyterian.
Maysonet received all 17 first-place votes and 34 points to finish ahead of runner-up Aramis Hillary (Coastal Carolina), who had 14 total points.
Backus is the second Chanticleer in three seasons to be honored as the Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, and is the fourth sophomore to receive the honor. In his first season as a starter, Backus tallied a school-record 123 total tackles (56 solo, 67 assisted) during the regular-season, with 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Backus' 123 tackles leads the Big South while his 11.2 per game is second in the League. The only player in the Big South to rank among the top 10 in tackles, sacks, TFL, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and interceptions, Backus was the first five-time Defensive Player of the Week honoree this season and won two National Defensive Player of the Week accolades. He posted eight games with at least 10 tackles, including a career-high 16 in the regular-season finale against Charleston Southern, and enters the postseason 20th in the nation in forced fumbles. In League play, Backus led the Conference with 69 stops with 6.5 tackles-for-loss in helping the Chanticleers clinch a share of the Big South title and secure the League's automatic playoff berth.
Backus is the fifth linebacker to be named Big South Defensive Player of the Year and the first since 2010. He received nine first-place votes and 20 points, finishing ahead of Charles James(Charleston Southern), who received three first-place votes and 11 points. Gardner-Webb's Tanner Burch was third in the voting with 10 points (three first-place votes).
Woodrum, who is a candidate for the Jerry Rice Award honoring the top FCS freshman in the country, is the second Liberty player to be voted Big South Freshman of the Year and the first since 2005. Since becoming Liberty's starting quarterback in Week 3, Woodrum was 179-of-259 passing ( =69.1 percent) for 1,943 yards and 11 touchdowns in his nine starts under center. He went 6-3 in that span with a 139.19 efficiency rating. Woodrum set Big South single-game freshman records this season with 373 passing yards vs. Gardner-Webb on Oct. 6, and tied the League-freshman record with 34 pass completions at Montana on Sept. 15. He ended the season with 1,966 passing yards -- the second-highest total for a Big South freshman as well as a Liberty record for a frosh. Woodrum threw seven of his 11 touchdown passes in Big South games and had a touchdown strike in eight of his nine starts this season.
Woodrum is the first quarterback to be honored as Big South Freshman of the Year, and received 11 first-place votes and 27 points, ahead of Charleston Southern wide receiver Larry Jones III (three first-place votes and 15 points).
Moglia directed the Chanticleers to a share of the Big South football championship in his first season at Coastal Carolina, the program's fifth in its 10 years of existence. Excluding the Big South's first season of 2002, he is the first head coach to win seven games in his first season in the Big South, and is one of two coaches to win a League title in his first season in the Conference (along with Liberty'sTurner Gill). Moglia's squad became the first team in League history to win five consecutive Big South games by more than 20 points, as the Chanticleers' average margin of victory in its five Big South wins was 30.4 points. Coastal Carolina closed out the season with a school-record six consecutive 200-yard rushing games and set a Big South single-season record with six two-point conversions this season. In Big South games, the Chanticleers ranked first in scoring offense (42.0), rushing offense (271.5), total offense (475.5), punt return average (17.6), turnover margin (+5), 3rd down conversions (61.2) and first downs (134). In all 11 games, Coastal was second in scoring (35.2), first in passing offense (233.5) and first in turnover margin (+5). Nationally, the Chants rank 15th in scoring offense, 19th in punt returns and 21st in total offense.
Moglia, who was named one of 20 candidates for the Eddie Robinson Award, received nine first-place votes and 23 points, finishing ahead of fellow Robinson Award candidate and FCS Playoff participant Chuck Priore of Stony Brook (six first-place votes and 18 points).
Kelly, who is Liberty's first Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year in football, is a 4.0 student majoring in exercise science. He helped Liberty to a share of the Big South football championship and led the Big South with 80 receptions this season -- the second player in League history with at least 80 catches in a year. Kelly set the Big South single-game record for receptions with 16 at Coastal Carolina on Oct. 27, and is 11th in the country with 7.27 receptions per game. The 2011 CoSIDA Academic All-American is again among the national honorees for the award this season.
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. Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Gardner-Webb led the way with 13 total selections, followed by Stony Brook with 12. The Chanticleers and Seawolves tied for the League-high with eight First-Team honorees.
Maysonet and Backus each earned a spot on the All-Conference First-Team. Coastal Carolina's Niccolo Mastromatteo picked up All-Big South First-Team honors as a punt returner and Second-Team honors as a wide receiver, while Gardner-Webb's J.J. Hubbard was a Second-Team pick at both kickoff returner and punt returner. The list of 2012 All-Conference members and award winners, as well as the All-Academic Team, appears below.
2012 BIG SOUTH FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS AND ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS
QB Aramis Hillary, Sr., Coastal Carolina
RB Miguel Maysonet, Sr., Stony Brook
RB Aldreakis Allen, Jr., Liberty
WR Kevin Norrell, Sr., Stony Brook
WR Pat Kelly, Sr., Liberty
WR Matt Hazel, Jr., Coastal Carolina
TE Seth Cranfill, R-Soph., Gardner-Webb
OL Michael Bamiro, R-Jr., Stony Brook
OL Pat Williams, Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL Mike Lisi, Soph., Stony Brook
OL Steve Demilio, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
OL Aaron Lundy, R-Sr., Liberty
DL Jonathan Coats, Sr., Stony Brook
DL Charlie Jones, Sr., VMI
DL Johnny Hartsfield, Sr., Coastal Carolina
DL Quinton Davis, Sr., Coastal Carolina
LB Quinn Backus, Soph., Coastal Carolina
LB Nick Sigmon, R-Soph., Liberty
LB Tanner Burch, Soph., Gardner-Webb
LB Jawara Dudley, Jr., Stony Brook
DB Charles James, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
DB Dominick Reyes, R-Sr., Stony Brook
DB Brent Vinson, Sr., Liberty
DB Dontavais Johnson, Sr., Coastal Carolina
PK Wesley Skiffington, R-Sr., Stony Brook
P Bo Lindsey, Sr., Gardner-Webb
LS Richard Wright, R-Jr., Liberty
KR Michael Ruff, Sr., Presbyterian
PR Niccolo Mastromatteo, Jr., Coastal Carolina
QB Kyle Essington, Sr., Stony Brook
RB Jeremy Height, Sr., Coastal Carolina
RB Kenny Little, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
WR Kenny Cook, R-Soph., Gardner-Webb
WR Niccolo Mastromatteo, Jr., Coastal Carolina
WR Larry Jones III, Fr., Charleston Southern
TE David Duran, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL Scott Hernandez, R-Jr., Stony Brook
OL Jamie Dunaway, Sr., Gardner-Webb
OL Jay Weatherington, Sr., Liberty
OL Chad Hamilton, R-Soph., Coastal Carolina
OL Austin Sargent, Sr., Gardner-Webb
DL Maurice Dickson, Jr., Gardner-Webb
DL Bryant Lewellyn, R-Sr., Liberty
DL Preston Pemasa, Jr., Gardner-Webb
DL Cory Freeman, R-Jr., Liberty
LB Mike McClure, Jr., Coastal Carolina
LB Scott Hyland, Jr., Liberty
LB Donelle Williams, Soph., Presbyterian
LB LJ Perry, Jr., Presbyterian
DB Walt Aikens, R-Jr., Liberty
DB Davonte Anderson, Jr., Stony Brook
DB Elijah Lee, Jr., Charleston Southern
DB Cedrick Moore, Sr., Stony Brook
PK John Lunsford, Fr., Liberty
P Grant Bowden, Jr., Liberty
LS Hudson Smith, Jr., Gardner-Webb
KR J.J. Hubbard, Soph., Gardner-Webb
PR J.J. Hubbard, Soph., Gardner-Webb
Nick Kemper, Gr., OL, Charleston Southern
Niccolo Mastromatteo, Jr., WR, Coastal Carolina
Lucas Beatty, R-Soph., QB, Gardner-Webb
Pat Kelly, Sr., WR, Liberty
Breyon Williams, Soph., LB, Presbyterian College
Kyle Essington, Sr., QB, Stony Brook
Ty Garvin, Soph., LB, VMI
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Miguel Maysonet, Sr., RB, Stony Brook (unanimous)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Quinn Backus, Soph., LB, Coastal Carolina
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Josh Woodrum, R-Fr., QB, Liberty
COACH OF THE YEAR
Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Pat Kelly, Sr., WR, Liberty