Backus, Ross, Moglia lead Chants to 16 BSC awards

Coastal Carolina North Dakota St FootballNational Defensive Player of the Year candidate and senior linebacker Quinn Backus was named the Big South’s Defensive Player of the Year for a third consecutive season, becoming the first person in conference history to be a  three-time player of the year. Also, junior quarterback Alex Ross was voted the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Year while Joe Moglia is this year’s co-Big South Coach of the Year.

A total of 16 Chanticleers – including first team picks Ross (QB), De’Angelo Henderson (RB), Chad Hamilton (OL), Kevin Hart (OL), Roderick Holder (DL), Backus (LB), Pernell Williams (DB), Shane Ballard (LS) and Devin Brown (KOR) with second team selections Bruce Mapp (WR), John Israel (WR), Mo Ashley (OL), Calvin Hollenhorst (DL), Brett Johnson (LB), Denzel Rice (DB) and Alex Catron (PK) – were named to the All-Big South squad, as selected by the league’s coaches and selected media. CCU graduate student tight end Cody Craig was named to the Big South All-Academic team, as voted on by the league’s sports information directors.

The 16 honors is the most in school history and the nine first team picks ties a school mark.

Third-year Chanticleer head coach Joe Moglia earns his second Big South Coach of the Year honor. Moglia is additionally an Eddie Robinson Award finalist, which goes to the national FCS coach of the year. Coastal won a share of the Big South Championship for a third consecutive year and will be making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The Chants became the first team in Big South history to open a season with 11 consecutive wins, tied a Big South record with 13 consecutive home wins (over three seasons), became the first Big South program to win seven road games in a season and set a league record with its current streak of seven consecutive road wins. Coastal was ranked among the nation’s top five through the regular season and was the nation’s #1 ranked program for two weeks. Coastal won its first ever playoff game in Moglia’s first season, reached a Big South-best quarterfinal round of the playoffs in his second season and became the first Big South program to a national seed (#7) and a first-round bye.

Quinn Backus (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood HS) is not only the first player to be a three-time Big South player of the year, but he is also the first Big South player to lead the league in tackles for three consecutive seasons, collecting 109 in 11 games (9.9. avg.). He finished the season with a 20-tackle performance, which tied a CCU single-game record, to push his career total to 423. He is the NCAA FCS active leader in tackles, ranks second on the Big South all-time list and is 18th on the FCS all-time list. He owns the CCU and Big South records with 234 solo tackles, which ranks 14th in NCAA FCS history. Backus forced five fumbles this season which are CCU and Big South single-season records and ranks fourth in the FCS in 2014. He was a two-time Big South and National Defensive Player of the Week as five of his turnovers led to CCU scores. Two of his forced fumbles were recovered and returned for TDs, one of his forced fumbles led to a 3-play, 29-yard TD drive, one of his interceptions led to a 4-play, 30-yard TD drive and another interception led to a 5-play, 36-yard TD drive. In addition to his 109 tackles, Backus has 8.5 tackles for losses – including 4.5 sacks – with two interceptions, five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries.

Alex Ross (Alpharetta, Ga./Buford HS) is a candidate for the Walter Payton Award, earns first team All-Big South for a second consecutive year and was a three-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week. In addition to leading Coastal to an 11-1 record this season, he is 23-4 in his 27 career starts. In the FCS rankings, Ross is eighth in total offense (303.3 ypg), ninth in passing efficiency (152.0 ypg), 10th in completion percentage (.667), 10th in passing yards (3,021) and 10th in passing yards per attempt (8.46 avg.). Ross had a Big South record seven games with at least 300 yards of total offense this season, including twice piling up a CCU record 426 yards of total offense. The junior broke his own CCU and Big South record for completions in a season with 238 this season. In addition, he became the CCU all-time leader in completions, now with 496 (33 games, 27 starts). Zach MacDowell previously held the mark with 494 career completions (34 games, 29 starts). Ross has thrown 50 career TD passes, moving into a tie for 3rd on the Big South career list. The CCU record (and second on the Big South list) is 53 by Tyler Thigpen while the Big South all-time mark is 73 by Collin Drafts of Charleston Southern. With 6,541 career passing yards, he is just 58 yards from passing Tyler Thigpen (6,598) as CCU’s all-time leader in passing yards. Ross (3,021) needs 276 passing yards to pass Thigpen (3,296) for the CCU season mark.

De’Angelo Henderson (Summerville, S.C./Summerville HS) had one of the best seasons in both Coastal Carolina and Big South history. The sophomore was a two-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week, had seven games with at least 100 rushing yards and had at least one rushing touchdown in all 12 games this season. Henderson leads the Big South in five categories while ranking sixth in the FCS in rushing TDS (18), seventh in yards per rush attempt (6.58 avg.), ninth in scoring (9.5 ppg), 20th in rushing yards (1,257) and 24th in rushing yards per game (104.8 ypg). Coastal has called upon Henderson six times when facing fourth down and he has scored four touchdowns and picked up five first downs. His 1,257 rushing yards is second (to 2013 Big South Offensive Player of the Year Lorenzo Taliaferro) on the CCU single-season and is currently eighth on the Big South seasonal chart.

Chad Hamilton (Charleston, S.C./James Island HS) is a three-time All-Big South pick, including a two-time first team selection. He has been Coastal’s top-graded lineman (solo or tied) eight times and has a team-best 51 knockdown blocks. Hamilton has helped Coastal lead the Big South and rank fifth in FCS in 3rd down conversions, 1st in 4th down conversions and 19th in total offense. In addition to his on-the-field honors, Hamilton graduated from Coastal Carolina this past spring and was voted CoSIDA Academic All-District as he pursues his Master’s degree in education.

Kevin Hart (Cornelius, N.C./Hopewell HS/Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy) earns his first All-Big South honor. Hart is one of four Chanticleers to play in each of CCU’s 51 games over the past four years and has started each of the last 33 games over the last two-plus seasons. He has 45 knock-down blocks in 2014 after leading the team last season with 57. Hart has been the team’s top-graded offensive lineman (solo or tied) six times and is a key figure in setting blocking assignments at the line. He has helped CCU lead the Big South in scoring (13th in FCS), passing (27th) and rank 15th in FCS in fewest sacks allowed.

Roderick Holder (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River HS) was named first team All-Big South for his first conference honor. The junior became the first Big South player to return two fumbles for touchdowns in a season (just second to do it for a career) with a 29-9yard TD versus South Carolina State and a four-yard score at Charlotte. Holder ranked third in league in sacks and his 6.5 for the season is second on the CCU single-season list. Also, he helped Coastal set a school record with 28 sacks this season. Holder ranked fourth in the league in tackles for loss while ranking sixth on the team in tackles and seventh in the league in tackles among defensive linemen.

Pernell Williams (Douglas, Ga./Coffee County HS) earns his first conference honor. After the injury to All-Big South safety Richie Sampson, Williams took over as a leader in the Chanticleer secondary. First, versus Charleston Southern, he tallied a team-best seven tackles. Next, at Gardner-Webb, he returned an interception for a touchdown, had two pass breakups and five tackles. Then, at Charlotte, he had two tackles for loss, including a sack and forced fumble that was returned for a CCU TD. He closed the season with 13 tackles in the final two games with a PBU in each contest. Williams ranks third (tied) in the league with four interceptions and 17th in the league in tackles (sixth-best among DBs and third-best on the team). Williams ranked 10th in the league in passes defended, had at least six tackles five times and ranked 12th in league games in tackles. For his career, the 2014 Coastal Carolina graduate ranks 11th on the CCU all-time list with 206 career tackles and seventh with 124 solo stops.

Shane Ballard (Manning, S.C./Manning HS) is the fourth Chanticleer to be named All-Big South as a long snapper, joining James Coble (2006) and Danny Bonifas (2010) as first team selections. Ballard is one of four Chanticleers to play in all 51 games over past four years. He has only had one bad snap in four years, coming in the second games of his his freshman season. Ballard has helped placekicker Alex Catron set CCU single-season record for PATs made last season and punter Austin Cain has set CCU records for punting average in each of the last two seasons.

Devin Brown (Charleston, S.C./James Island HS) was named the league’s first team selection as a kick returner for the second time. The sophomore led the Big South in kick return average for a second straight year and ranked 16th in the FCS in kick returns (26.2 avg.). Also, for second straight year, Brown set a CCU single-season record with 656 kick return yards. Highlighting Brown’s season was a game-winning, 99-yard kick return for a touchdown at North Carolina A&T. He helped CCU have an average drive start on the 31.4 yard line on kick returns.

Bruce Mapp (Philadelphia, Pa./West Philadelphia Catholic HS) was the squad’s offensive player of the week a team-best three times this season. His 2014 season is rivaled only by CCU greats Matt Hazel and Jerome Simpson. Mapp currently has 60 receptions (13 behind Hazel’s 2013 14-game total and one shy of Hazel’s 2012 and Simpson’s 2006 totals). Mapp ranked second in the league with six receiving touchdowns while ranking third in the league in with 60 receptions and 819 yards. He had four games with at least 100 receiving yards and ended the season with 97 yards on four receptions and a TD versus Liberty. Mapp tied a CCU record in the season opener with 10 receptions at The Citadel.

John Israel (Florence, S.C./Wilson HS) is on track to be one of the top big-play receivers in both CCU and league history. Specifically, he was named Big South Offensive Player of the Week in CCU’s win versus Charleston Southern. Despite catching just three passes, he amassed 174 yards – second on the CCU single-game list – with touchdowns of 74 and 51 yards.  He also had eight receptions for 111 yards in a win versus Monmouth. Israel only had 43 receptions this season (ninth-best in the league) but ranked second-tied in touchdown receptions (6) and fifth in receiving yards (715). His 19.1 yards per catch in league play is tops in the Big South and his 17.9 career yards per catch is currently CCU record.

Mo Ashley (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path HS) earns his first career all-conference honor.  He is one of four Chants to play in all 51 games over past 4 years and has a team-best 40 consecutive starts over three full seasons. A 2014 Coastal Carolina graduate, Ashley was named CoSIDA Academic All-District. He has helped De’Angelo Henderson lead the league in rushing, scoring and yards per rush while helping Alex Ross lead the league in total offense and passing yards. For the second straight season, Coastal has ranked among the FCS top 15 in both fewest sacks allowed and fewest tackles for loss.

Calvin Hollenhorst (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge HS) was tabbed second team All-Big South for a second straight season. The junior ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 56 while ranking 26th overall in the league in stops and third among defensive linemen in the league. He returned a fumble four yards for a touchdown at Florida A&M and five games with at least six tackles. Hollenhorst currently has 7.0 tackles for losses, including three sacks.

Brett Johnson (North Augusta, S.C./North Augusta HS/Air Force Academy) earns his first Big South honor. The senior linebacker ended the season with a 17-tackle performance and had a team-high 10 stops in the win over South Carolina State. Despite battling an injury most of the season, Johnson ranked second on the team behind Backus and 10th in the league in tackles with 67. He has 7.0 tackles for losses, including 2.5 sacks, with two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Denzel Rice (Winston-Salem, N.C./Jacket Integrated Academy at Carver HS) was voted second team All-Big South for the second straight year.  He had five pass breakups in league games, best in the conference. Overall, Rice had nine PBU to rank second in the league and he added a blocked punt. The senior ranks third on the CCU all-time list with 24 career PBU and he helped CCU lead the conference and rank 20th in the FCS in pass efficiency defense.

Alex Catron (Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS) is a two-time All-Big South pick. He was a two-time Big South Player of the Week and two-time national honoree. He ranked second in Big South by making 0.92 field goals per game and drilled a CCU-record 53-yard field goal. Catron is fourth in the Big South overall with 77 points, second among kickers, and he led the league with 48 PATs made and 98.0 PAT percentage. He added eight tackles on kick coverage and had 13 touchbacks on his kickoffs. Catron helped CCU rank 18th in the FCS in kick return defense (17.28 ypr) with opponents’ average drive start being the 22 yard line.

Cody Craig (Moncks Corner, S.C./Timberland HS) was voted to the Big South All-Academic team. Craig, a four-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll selection, graduated cum laude from Coastal Carolina in the spring of 2014 and is pursuing his Master’s in education. He has played in 39 career games and has drawn four starts. He has two career receptions for 15 yards, is a valuable blocker as a tight end and a fixture on the CCU special teams. Craig began his career as a quarterback and has thrown two career TDs and added a rushing two-point conversion.

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