CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Five Charleston Southern football players were recognized on the Big South 2010-19 Football All-Decade team presented by Hercules Tires as announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon.
Former All-Americans Erik Austell (OL), Anthony Ellis (DL), Solomon Brown (LB/DE), Troy McGowens (DB), and Darius Hammond (RS) were all named to the team after being voted on by the committee panel.
2010-19 Big South Football All-Decade Team Presented by Hercules Tires
Erik Austell (2012-16) was the first CSU football player to receive an invite to the NFL Combine after a standout career at left tackle for the Bucs. He started 39 games for the Bucs over his five-year career earning AFCA FCS and HERO Sports First Team All-American honors, while adding AP and STATS FCS Second-Team All-American status in his senior season.
Throughout his career, Austell helped paved the way for one of the Big South's best offenses during the stretch as CSU consistently ranked in the top-20 nationally in rushing offense and total offense. He helped Christian Reyes establish CSU's career rushing mark in 2014, and then two years later helped Mike Holloway lead the FCS in yards per carry (8.39 ypc).
Following his career at CSU, he was a priority free agent signee with the Denver Broncos and spent time on the Houston Texans roster from 2017-18.
Anthony Ellis (2014-17) was arguably the best defensive lineman in the Big South Conference during a dominant three-year stretch over his time at CSU. Ellis led the Big South in tackles for loss in each of his final three seasons and finished up his playing career third all-time in conference history in TFL (51.5), second all-time in sacks (24.0), and tied for fourth all-time in forced fumbles (7).
His dominant stretch included a standout junior season that culminated in leading the Big South Conference in sacks (7.0), tackles for loss (16.0), and forced fumbled (2) on his way to earning Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. He followed that up with an even stronger senior season where he finished with 9.0 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss on his way to winning the annual award for the second time.
Solomon Brown (2015-18) was a difference-maker at both linebacker and defensive end over his four years with the Buccaneers. Brown set a number of milestones throughout his playing career as he became just the third player in conference history to earn First Team All-Big South recognition in each of his four playing seasons. He joined former CSU alum Jada Ross (2004-07) as just the second Buc to earn All-Conference nods in each of his four playing years.
Brown earned Big South Conference Freshman of the Year honors and was one of 20 finalists for the STATS National FCS Freshman of the Year award in 2015 after a standout season that saw him finish second in the Big South in both sacks (7.0) and tackles for loss (12.5). He added multiple All-American accolades along the way as he transitioned from outside linebacker to a defensive end as CSU shifted from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 set.
Brown wrapped up his CSU career with one of the Bucs' top individual defensive performances with 18 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks against The Citadel. He is also known for a play affectionately known as "The Block" by multiple CSU fans for his game-winning blocked PAT in a 59-58 double-overtime win over Coastal Carolina in 2016.
Troy McGowens (2013-16) wrapped up his career at CSU as one of the top pass defenders in program history over his four-year career. McGowens earned a starting nod at cornerback in his sophomore season, sparking a stretch of three consecutive seasons that he was named to the Big South All-Conference team. He finished his career third all-time in the CSU annals in career interceptions (10), while sitting fifth all-time in career pass breakups (22).
He earned HERO Sports Third Team All-American honors following a standout senior campaign that saw him lead the Bucs with four interceptions and four pass breakups. His knack for making key plays in big situations included key interceptions against North Dakota State and Kennesaw State (twice), as well as Presbyterian. He also paced the Big South in pass breakups (10) and added four interceptions in his sophomore season.
Darius Hammond (2013-16) was the premier return specialist in the Big South Conference over his final three seasons with the Buccaneers. Hammond earned multiple accolades in the return game over his career at CSU earning CFPA All-Purpose Performer of the Year honors (2015), FCS ADA All-American honors (2016), and Walter Camp FCS All-American honors (2016). He paced the Big South in punt return and kickoff return yards in his junior seasons, while sitting among the FCS leaders in all-purpose yards in each of his final two years.