South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard and North Carolina A&T State quarterback Lamar Raynard were named the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year, respectively.
The players were named officially at the 60th annual National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame press conference on Tuesday morning in New York City live on ESPN3.
Leonard keeps the defensive player of the year trophy in Orangeburg for the fifth straight year as SC State defenders have won the award every year since 2013. The redshirt senior from Lake View, S.C. currently ranks fourth in the FCS with 113 tackles (11.3 per game) and second in solo tackles (7.3 pg). He also picked off two passes and had seven (7) sacks while finishing his career as the all-time leading tackler in SC State football history with 393 tackles. Leonard had six games in 2017 with 12-plus tackles highlighted by a high of 18 versus Morgan State.
This marks the fourth consecutive year a player from North Carolina A&T State has been named offensive player of the year as Raynard passed for a MEAC-best 2,707 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to a 11-0 regular season mark and a berth in the Celebration Bowl. The redshirt junior from High Point, N.C. leads the MEAC in eight (8) statistical categories and shattered the Aggie record books as he broke the North Carolina A&T State single-season school records for touchdowns responsible, passing, total offense, touchdown passes and completions in a season.
Nationally, Raynard ranks third in passing efficiency and yards per pass attempt while ranking 17th in passing yards and second in total offense en route to a 26-0 record as a starter