SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Nov. 22, 2016) – The ETSU football team had four Buccaneers earn all-conference honors as the Southern Conference announced its postseason award winners on Tuesday.
Sophomore linebacker Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) earned second team all-conference honors by the media, while offensive lineman Ben Blackmon (Newberry, S.C.) and defensive linemen Jason Maduafokwa (Seymour, Tenn.) and Nasir Player (Columbia, S.C.) were placed on the all-freshman team.
Weigel started all 11 games at linebacker for the Bucs and totaled a team-best 106 tackles, while adding 3.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. The Pickerington, Ohio native – who ranked second in the SoCon in total tackles – posted double-digit tackles in eight of the 11 games, including a season-high 12 against Chattanooga. Weigel ranks 20th among FCS players in fumble recoveries (2) and 21st in tackles per game (9.6).
Blackmon started all 11 games for the Blue and Gold at left guard. The Newberry, S.C. native played 730 total snaps, while grading out at 77 percent for the season – including a season-best 83 percent in the win over Western Carolina at Bristol Motor Speedway. Blackmon totaled 35 knockdowns, while recording six against Western Carolina and five versus Furman. Blackmon’s blocking duties helped ETSU total three 200-plus yard rushing games – including a season-high 323 yards in the win over West Virginia Wesleyan.
Maduafokwa led the Bucs with four sacks and tied for the team lead with 6.5 tackles for loss. The Buccaneer defensive lineman played in 10 of the 11 games, including making his first collegiate start in last Saturday’s win over No. 18 Samford. Maduafokwa recorded 23 total tackles, while he posted two sacks in his first collegiate game against Western Carolina. The Seymour, Tenn. native also had sacks against Chattanooga and West Virginia Wesleyan, while registering a season-high six tackles at Wofford.
Player finished with 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack in nine games (seven starts) for ETSU. The Columbia, S.C. native got his career off to a blazing start as he recorded a season-high eight tackles (two tackles for loss) and one sack in the Bucs’ season opening 20-17 double-overtime win at Kenensaw State. Player also totaled seven tackles (four solo) at No. 5 The Citadel and followed that up with six tackles a week later at Mercer. Player’s 5.5 tackles for loss ranked second on the team.
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges was pegged Offensive Player of the Year by both the coaches and media, while Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams took home both Freshman of the Year honors. Chattanooga defensive lineman Keionta Davis earned Defensive Player of the Year by the coaches, while Citadel defensive back Kailik Williams earned the honor by the media. Citadel’s Isaiah Pinson received the Jacobs Blocking Award for the top offensive lineman. Citadel head coach Brent Thompson picked up Coach of the Year honors by both his peers and the media after guiding the Bulldogs to a 10-1 overall record and an undefeated run in conference play (8-0).