Tusculum’s Boyd named SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Tusculum College rookie Jay Boyd has been named the South Atlantic Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year announced league officials Tuesday with the release of the 2016 SAC Football Awards. The SAC Football Awards are selected by a vote of conference’s eight head coaches.

Boyd was named as the All-SAC first team return specialist while also being tabbed as an All-Conference second team defensive back. He also joins TC teammates Brandon Williams and Deres Benn on the All-SAC second team.

Boyd, a 6-0, 190-pound freshman from Viera, Florida, becomes the third Pioneer to garner SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year accolades, joining former All-American and TC Sports Hall of Famer Craig Pritchett (2000) and current teammate L’Keith Brown (2014). Boyd led the league with five interceptions, which are tied for the second most in school history and matches teammate’s Martez Thompkins (2015) for the most picks by a Tusculum freshman. In his 10 games, he posted 44 tackles, including six for loss, with three pass break-ups, forced a fumble and recovered another.

On special teams, he paced the Pioneers on kickoff returns, averaging a SAC-best 25.95 yards per return (37th in NCAA II), including his 95-yard return for a touchdown in Tusculum’s 38-28 road win over Catawba. His 95-yard return is the third longest in program history and for his efforts was named the SAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Benn, a 6-0, 207-pound linebacker from Chattanooga, Tennessee, finished second on the team with his 83 tackles, including 13 for loss and a sack. His 44 solo tackles are seventh-most in the conference, while his three forced fumbles are fourth in the league and 37th in the nation. He was also second on the team with three interceptions and tied for the team lead with his eight passes defended (3 INT, 5 PB). He tied a career record with 13 tackles in a 28-27 overtime loss at Mars Hill. He matched that with 13 stops in Saturday’s 31-30 overtime win over Carson-Newman. In both the Mars Hill and Carson-Newman games, Benn was named the SAC Defensive Player of the Week.

Benn wraps up his 42-game career at Tusculum where he accounted for 253 tackles, which are the ninth-most by a Pioneer. He totaled 17 tackles for loss, 14 passes defended, including four interceptions with four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and blocked a punt, which came against Mars Hill this season (Oct. 29).

Williams, a 6-1, 275-pound sophomore defensive lineman from Morrow, Georgia, led the South Atlantic Conference with his 22 tackles for loss, which are currently 16th in the country. His 22 hits behind the line of scrimmage ties a school single-season record, matching the total established by All-American Justin Scott in 2008. Williams’ 78 tackles are third on the roster, while also posting four sacks, seven quarterback hurries and a pass break-up.

Tusculum finished the year with a 4-7 overall record, winning three of its last four outings to finish tied for fourth place in the SAC with a 3-4 conference slate.

– TC –

2016 All-South Atlantic Conference Football Team
First Team Offense
QB – Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry
RB – Jamel Harbison, Mars Hill
RB – Blake Hayes, Wingate
RB – Antonio Wimbush, Carson-Newman
WR – Markell Castle, Newberry
WR – Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
WR – Cole Watson, Newberry
OL – Joe Hillin, Mars Hill
OL – Daniel Owens, Wingate
OL – Bobby McNeil, Newberry
OL – Quinzavious Sands, Catawba
OL – Tyler Stasky, Newberry
TE – Baptiste Staggers, Newberry
PK – Caleb Baird, Wingate
LS – Steven Bartlett, Catawba
LS – Eddie Slyle, Brevard
RS – Jay Boyd, Tusculum

First Team Defense
DL – Ray Edwards, Wingate
DL – C.J. Barksdale, Catawba
DL – Jimmy Holmes, Newberry
DL – Jamarcus Henderson, Newberry
LB – Kyle Kitchens, Catawba
LB – Carl Mattox, Mars Hill
LB – Joe Blue, Newberry
LB – Trey Evans, Catawba
DB – Case Woodard, Catawba
DB – Rodney Singleton, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB – Ashud Moore, Brevard
DB – Jerry Miclisse, Carson-Newman
P – Michael DeStephens, Lenoir-Rhyne

Second Team Offense
QB – Kyle Johnson, Wingate
RB – Romelo Doctor, Newberry
RB – Nelson Brown, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB – Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
WR – Jordan Berry, Wingate
WR – Sam Mobley, Catawba
WR – Braxton Ivery, Newberry
OL – Jaleel Roberts, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Austin Lewis, Carson-Newman
OL – Cabell Cantrell, Wingate
OL – Dakota Mozingo, Newberry
OL – T.J. Olsen, Catawba
TE – Kedar Bryant, Mars Hill
TE – Jake Jensen, Wingate
PK – Brennan Lambert, Catawba
PK – Carson Wise, Carson-Newman
RS – Jordan Berry, Wingate
RS – Cole Watson, Newberry

Second Team Defense
DL – Andre Foulks, Wingate
DL – Chris Green, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL – Brandon Williams, Tusculum
DL – Jamel Brintley, Mars Hill
DL – Josh Mills, Wingate
LB – Zack Singleton, Wingate
LB – Deres Benn, Tusculum
LB – Jamal Lackey, Catawba
LB – Lane Bloom, Carson-Newman
LB – Will Elm, Newberry
DB – Rashaad Smith, Newberry
DB – Cornel Cheron, Wingate
DB – Chris Page, Catawba
DB – Jay Boyd, Tusculum
P – Jonathan King, Carson-Newman

SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year: Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
SAC Defensive Freshman of the Year: Jay Boyd, Tusculum
SAC Offensive Player of the Year: Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry
SAC Defensive Player of the Year: Ray Edwards, Wingate
Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Joe Hillin, Mars Hill
SAC Coach of the Year: Todd Knight, Newberry

Statistical Champions
Rushing Yards Per Game: Jamel Harbison, Mars Hill (109.5)
Passing Yards Per Game: Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry (308.7)
Total Offense Per Game: Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry (341.8)
Receptions Per Game: Markell Castle, Newberry (5.8)
Receiving Yards Per Game: Markell Castle, Newberry (78.5)
All-Purpose Yards Per Game: Jamel Harbison, Mars Hill (123.5)
Passing Efficiency Rating: Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry (158.5)
Punt Return Avg.: Antonio Wimbush, Carson-Newman (8.7)
Kick Return Avg: Jay Boyd, Tusculum (26.0)
Punting Avg: Michael Destephens, Lenoir-Rhyne (44.2)
Scoring Average (TDs): Blake Hayes, Wingate (7.6)
Scoring Average (K): Caleb Baird, Wingate (7.5)
Field Goals Per Game: Caleb Baird, Wingate (1.09)
Field Goal Percentage: Caleb Baird, Wingate (.800)
Tackles Per Game: Ashud Moore, Brevard (8.9)
Sacks Per Game: Kyle Kitchens, Catawba (0.77)
Tackles for Loss Per Game: Brandon Williams, Tusculum (1.7)
Interceptions Per Game: Jay Boyd, Tusculum (0.6)
Team Scoring Offense: Newberry (36.6)
Team Scoring Defense: Newberry (18.7)
Team Passing Offense: Newberry (302.9)
Team Passing Defense: Brevard (149.5)
Team Rushing Offense: Carson-Newman (272.8)
Team Rushing Defense: Wingate (98.2)
Team Total Offense: Newberry (464.0)
Team Total Defense: Wingate (284.7)


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