The Citadel football program placed six members on the Preseason All-Southern Conference teams, led by the preseason Defensive Player of the Year Kailik Williams, it was announced Tuesday at SoCon Media Day.
In addition to being the coaches' selection for preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Williams was a first-team All-SoCon selection, where he was joined by senior A-Back Cam Jackson and junior offensive lineman Tyler Davis. Senior linebacker Myles Pierce, senior defensive lineman Jonathan King and junior defensive lineman Ken Allen were voted to the second team.
Williams is the defending Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year after last season becoming The Citadel's first Defensive Player of the Year named by the media since 1986. The Ormond Beach, Florida, native also was voted first-team All-SoCon after registering 103 tackles, including 10.0 for loss, five pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble. His tackles total tied for third on the program's single-season list, and his tackles average of 8.6 per game ranked eighth in the conference in 2016. He was responsible for the defensive highlight of the year with his 'Pitch Six' in the Bulldogs' victory at Wofford to tie the game with 5:57 remaining. Williams enters the 2017 season ranked 16th on the program's career tackles list with 191.
Jackson currently holds The Citadel's record for average yards per rush with a career mark of 8.02 yards per rush. The Mobile, Alabama, native showed his versatility in 2016 as he rushed 95 times for 692 yards and five touchdowns, caught nine passes for 111 yards and was 1-of-1 passing for a 75-yard touchdown. His average of 69.2 rushing yards per game ranked fifth in the SoCon, and his five touchdowns tied for third on the team. His 75-yard touchdown pass in the 37-14 win at Western Carolina was the longest by a Bulldog since 2008 and the 11th-longest pass play in program history.
Davis started all 12 games in 2016 and his flexibility was on display with four starts at center and eight starts at right guard. The Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, native blocked for FCS' top-ranked rushing attack as the Bulldogs averaged an FCS-best 348.2 rushing yards per game. The Citadel also ranked first in FCS in fewest tackles for loss allowed. Davis was key as the offensive line paved the way for a school-record-tying five 400-yard rushing games, including the program's first back-to-back 500-yard rushing games, and 10 different individual 100-yard efforts.
Pierce started all 12 games in 2016 and earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. He recorded 78 tackles, including 11.0 for loss with 1.0 sack, one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry. The Daphne, Alabama, native made a career-high 12 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, in the Bulldogs' 24-21 win at Wofford and earned SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week recognition for his performance. In the 38-14 victory at North Greenville, Pierce registered a career-high 3.0 tackles for loss.
King started all 12 games of the 2016 season at one defensive tackle spot. He recorded 26 tackles, including 9.5 for loss with 4.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. King tied for ninth in the SoCon with 7.0 tackles for loss in conference play. The Statesville, North Carolina, native was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week after his performance in the Bulldogs' 30-20 win at VMI, which included a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss with 1.0 sack, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery he returned 54 yards for a touchdown. His career-high 2.0 tackles for loss in the season-opening 24-23 win at Mercer were the most in the SoCon against a Division I opponent in the season's first week.
Allen started all 12 games at the other defensive tackle spot alongside King. Allen, a native of Elberton, Georgia, was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection after he recorded 43 tackles, including 10.0 for loss with 4.0 sacks, and three quarterback hurries. He tied for fourth in the SoCon with 4.0 sacks in conference play. In the second round of the FCS Playoffs, he made a career-high nine tackles, including 2.0 for loss. During the regular season, he had a career day in The Citadel's 37-14 win at Western Carolina, registering a career-high 2.5 sacks, a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss and five tackles.
The two-time defending conference champion Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the Southern Conference by both the coaches and media. In the coaches' poll, The Citadel earned 54 total points, including two first-place votes, and in the media poll the Bulldogs garnered 166 points and six first-place votes.
The Bulldogs begin their 2017 season with two straight home games, facing Newberry on Sept. 2 in the season opener before hosting Presbyterian on Sept. 9, and end at defending College Football Playoff champion Clemson on Nov. 18. The SoCon slate begins with a road game at ETSU on Sept. 16. To purchase tickets, contact The Citadel Athletic Ticket Office at 843-953-DOGS (3647) or in-person at McAlister Field House from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m.-Noon on Fridays.