Coastal Athletics Announces Class of 2020 and 2021 Sasser Hall of Fame Inductees
CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina University Department of Athletics is excited to announce both the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes that will be inducted into the Sasser Hall of Fame this fall as part of the Homecoming and Hall of Fame Weekend on Nov. 12-13.
The two classes include nine standout student-athletes as well as the 2016 Coastal Carolina baseball College World Series National Championship team.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 includes Quinn Backus and Lorenzo Taliaferro of football and Letitia Saayman of the women’s cross country and track & field teams.
Joining the 2016 National Championship baseball team in the Class of 2021 is former CCU baseball outstanding student-athletes in Mike Morrison, Connor Owings, Michael Paez, Zach Remillard, and G.K. Young, as well as former quarterback Alex Ross.
Coastal Carolina will induct the Class of 2021 this fall in a ceremony on Friday night, Nov. 12, along with the Class of 2020 as the 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following are brief bios on both the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes:
Class of 2020
Quinn Backus – Football (2011-14)
Voted the 2014 FCS Athletics Director’s Association (ADA) Top Collegiate Linebacker his senior season, Backus was a three-time All-American (2012, 2013, and 2014) receiving All-American recognition from Walter Camp (2013 and 2014), Associated Press (2013 and 2014), FCS ADA (2014), The Sports Network/Stats FCS (2012, 2013, and 2014), and College Sports Journal (2013). He was also a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan/FCS National Defensive Player of the Year award (2013 and 2014) and a recipient of the College Football Performance Awards 2015 Elite Linebacker Award. Backus was also named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year three times (2012, 2013, and 2014), a three-time All-Big South first-team selection (2012, 2013, and 2014), and tabbed the 2014-15 Howard Bagwell Big South Male Athlete of the Year.
Lorenzo Taliaferro – Football (2012-13)
A 2013 Walter Payton Award finalist, Taliaferro was an All-American in 2013, picking up honors from the Associated Press, The Sports Network/Stats FCS, College Sporting News Fabulous 50, and the College Sports Journal. Tabbed the 2013-14 Big South Male Athlete of the Year capped off his senior year at CCU in which he was named the 2013 Big South Offensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Big South first-team. He was a five-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week Award winner in 2013 which then tied a Big South record, also picked up College Football Performance Awards Player of the Week recognition during the 2013 season, and played in the 2014 Senior Bowl, becoming only the second Chant to ever play in the highly-touted all-star game. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens (138th overall), Taliaferro played three years in the NFL with the Ravens (2014-16).
Letitia Saayman – Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field (2011-16)
A 2015 NCAA Cross Country All-American and the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Southeast Region Athlete of the Year, Saayman was also a 2015 NCAA Cross Country Southeast All-Region team selection and the 2012 Big South Cross Country Rookie of the Year. A two-time Big South Cross Country individual champion and Runner of the Year winner (2013 and 2015), she was also a three-time All-Big South Cross Country selection in 2012, 2013, and 2015, and was a key part of the 2013 Big South Women’s Cross Country Championship team. A member of two Big South Outdoor Track & Field championship teams (2012 and 2014) and three Big South Indoor Track & Field championship teams (2013, 2014, and 2015), Saayman competed at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Preliminary in the 10,000-meters. A six-time Big South Indoor Track & Field All-Conference performer (2012, 2013, 2014, 3 – 2015) and six-time Big South Outdoor Track & Field All-Conference performer (2 - 2012, 2 – 2014; 2 – 2015), she was a three-time Big South Outdoor Track & Field individual champion in the 10,000-meters (2012, 2014, and 2015) and the 2015 Big South Outdoor Track & Field individual champion in the 5,000-meters. Saayman was also a two-time Big South Indoor Track & Field individual champion in the 5,000-meters (2014 and 2015).
Class of 2021
2016 College World Series National Champions - Baseball
The team will be recognized at a home baseball game at Springs Brooks Stadium in the spring of 2022.
Mike Morrison – Baseball (2012-16)
A member of the 2016 College World Series National Championship team, Morrison was a 2016 Collegiate Baseball first-team All-American, 2016 NCBWA third-team All-American, and a 2016 Perfect Game/Rawlings third-team All-American. Tabbed the 2016 Big South Tournament MVP, he was named to the All-Big South first team and went on to earn 2016 NCAA Raleigh Regional All-Tournament team honors. Named to the 2010-19 Big South Baseball All-Decade team, Morrison holds the CCU program record for the most saves in a single season for a senior with 11 in 2016. Following his playing career at Coastal, Morrison was drafted in the 27th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox (806th overall).
Connor Owings – Baseball (2012-16)
A member of the 2016 College World Series National Championship team, Owings was a 2016 first-team ABCA and NCBWA All-American, a Collegiate Baseball and D1Basball second-team All-American, and a Perfect Game/Rawlings third-team All-American his senior season. Named the 2016 Big South Player of the Year, he was also a 2016 Greg Olson Award finalist - award given to the Breakout Player of the Year in college baseball – and earned a spot on the 2016 ABCA All-Region first team. Owings was a three-time All-Big South Conference selection (first team in 2014; second team in 2015; first team in 2016) and was named to the Big South All-Tournament team in 2014. An ultimate utility player, Owings started and played in every game over three seasons - 2014, 2015, and 2016 – and was recently named to the 2010-19 Big South Baseball All-Decade team. He would go on to be a 34th round draft pick in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks (1,019th overall) following his career at Coastal.
Michael Paez – Baseball (2013-16)
Also a member of the 2016 College World Series National Championship team, Paez was a two-time All-Big South selection earning first-team honors in 2015, and second-team accolades in 2016 and a two-time Big South All-Tournament team pick (2015 and 2016). Named to the 2015 ABCA All-Region second team, he was also a semifinalist for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Award, awarded annually to the Best College Shortstop. The sure-handed shortstop holds the Coastal record for the most putouts by a shortstop in a single season with 127 in 2016 and is CCU’s single-season record holder with 48 double plays turned that same season. A fourth-round pick in 2016 by the New York Mets (130th overall), Paez was named to the 2010-19 Big South Baseball All-Decade team.
Zach Remillard – Baseball (2012-16)
A leader on the 2016 College World Series National Championship team, Remillard was a 2016 NCBWA third-team All-American and a Perfect Game/Rawlings honorable mention All-American. Tabbed the 2016 NCAA Raleigh Regional MVP, he went on to earn a spot on the 2016 CWS All-Tournament team with his play in Omaha at the College World Series. He was also named to the 2016 ABCA All-Region second team and earned a spot on the 2016 All-Big South first team his senior season. A two-time Big South All-Tournament team selection (2015 and 2016), Remillard was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox (296th overall). He also was recently named to the 2010-19 Big South Baseball All-Decade team.
G.K. Young – Baseball (2013-16)
A key player on the 2016 College World Series National Championship team, Young was named a semifinalist for the 2016 Dick Howser Trophy, which is awarded to the College Player of the Year in baseball. Named a 2016 first-team All-American by ABCA, NWBCA, and Hero Sports, he was earned a spot on the 2016 ABCA All-Region team and was a 2016 first-team All-Big South selection. Drafted in the 31st round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres (924th overall), Young holds the CCU program record for the most hits in a single season for a junior with 99 in 2016 and is tied for the Coastal record for the most RBIs in a single season for a junior with 72 in 2016.
Alex Ross – Football (2011-15)
One of the most well-decorated Chanticleers in Coastal football history, Ross was named a 2015 AFCA All-American and was a two-time finalist for the Walter Payton Award (2014 and 2015), given each year to the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football. Tabbed the 2014 Big South Offensive Player of the Year, the CCU quarterback was also the first-ever three-time All-Big South first-team pick (2013, 2014, 2015) in conference history. A two-time national College Football Performance Awards Player of the Week (2013) and seven-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week honoree, Ross set and holds 12 offensive career records in the Coastal record book including passing touchdowns, passing yards, pass completions, pass attempts, total offensive yards, total offensive yards per game, total offensive yards per play, passing yards per game, passing efficiency, and pass completion percentage. He also holds five single-season records including total offense, passing yards, passing attempts, pass completions, and pass completion percentage, and several single-game offensive records. Named to the 2010-19 Big South Football All-Decade team, Ross finished his career as the Big South all-time leader in total offense (11,482), touchdowns responsible for (91), most games with 300-plus yards of total offense (16), most games with 400-plus yards of total offense (4), most games with 3-plus touchdown passes (12), and most rushing touchdowns by a QB (19). He also was a standout in the classroom, as he was a 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team selection, a 2015 FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star, and named the 2015 Big South Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year while also picking up Big South All-Academic team honors that same season. Ross went on to play professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Alliance Football League.