CCU tops All-Big South list, except for coach of the year

ccufoot-15sweepCoastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (Yorktown, Va.) and Chanticleers’ linebacker Quinn Backus (Greenwood, S.C.) have been voted the 2013 Big South Football Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, by the Conference’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced Tuesday by the league office.

Coastal Carolina’s LaDarius Hawthorne (Ware Shoals, S.C.) was voted the inaugural Special Teams Player of the Year, while Charleston Southern’s Jamey Chadwell was voted Coach of the Year. Chadwell received nine first-place votes and 22 points, finishing ahead of fellow Robinson Award candidate Joe Moglia of Coastal Carolina (four first-place votes and 15 points).

Taliaferro was a near unanimous selection as the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Year and is the first Chanticleer to win the Conference’s top offensive honor since Tyler Thigpen in 2006.  Taliaferro finished the regular-season with Big South records of 25 touchdowns, 23 rushing touchdowns, five 3-touchdown games and 150 points.  He scored a touchdown in 11 of 12 games and posted eight multi-TD efforts.  A finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Taliaferro led the Big South with a school-record 1,487 rushing yards and 1,596 all-purpose yards. Taliaferro received 14 of the 16 first-place votes.

Backus is the third-ever repeat winner of the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award and first since Gardner-Webb’s Brian Johnston in 2006-07.  Backus is the Big South’s leading tackler for the second-straight season with 111 stops, which includes a league-high 68 solo hits — third-most in a single-season in Conference history.  Just the second player in Big South history to lead the League in total tackles in consecutive seasons, he was the only Big South player to average more than nine stops a game (9.2) this season.  In addition, he had six games with 10+ tackles and five games with at least seven solo tackles.  A finalist for the Buchanan Award, Backus received eight first-place votes.

Hawthorne is the recipient of the Big South’s inaugural Special Teams Player of the Year award after blocking three field goals, forcing two fumbles, recovering one fumble and registering five tackles on special teams this season.  His blocked field goal in the season opener at South Carolina State was returned for a touchdown that tied the game in the third quarter.  Hawthorne recovered a fumble on kick coverage vs. Furman that led to a CCU score, and forced a fumble on kick coverage at Eastern Kentucky that led to an eventual game-tying field goal.  He also recovered a fumble on punt coverage against Gardner-Webb, which CCU converted into a touchdown two plays later, and his blocked field goal in the second overtime at Liberty gave the Chants the three-point victory over the Flames.  Hawthorne, who also blocked a field goal against Presbyterian, received eight first-place votes.

The Big South also announced its All-Conference first and second teams.  The squads are comprised of 12 offensive and defensive players and five special teams players, plus any ties.  Liberty led the way with 16 total selections, just ahead of Coastal Carolina (15) and Gardner-Webb (12).  The Flames and Chanticleers tied for the league-high with nine First-Team honorees.

2013 BIG SOUTH FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS AND ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS

FIRST-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE

OFFENSE

QB      Alex Ross, R-Soph., Coastal Carolina

RB      Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., Coastal Carolina

RB      Christian Reyes, Jr., Charleston Southern

WR     Kenny Cook, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb

WR     Matt Hazel, Sr., Coastal Carolina

WR     Darrin Peterson, Soph., Liberty

TE       Brandon Apon, R-Sr., Liberty

OL      Jamey Cheatwood, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina

OL      Hunter Steward, Sr., Liberty

OL      Chad Hamilton, R-Jr., Coastal Carolina

OL      Drew Herring, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina

OL      Clayton Truitt, Jr., Charleston Southern

DEFENSE

DL      Shaquille Riddick, Jr., Gardner-Webb

DL      Preston Pemasa, Sr., Gardner-Webb

DL      Chima Uzowihe, Soph., Liberty

DL      O.J. Le’iatua Mau, Soph., Gardner-Webb

LB      Quinn Backus, Jr., Coastal Carolina

LB      Tanner Burch, Jr., Gardner-Webb

LB      Nick Sigmon, R-Jr., Liberty

LB      Calvin Bryant, Jr., Charleston Southern

DB      Jacob Hagen, R-Jr., Liberty

DB      Walt Aikens, R-Sr., Liberty

DB      Kevin Fogg, R-Sr., Liberty

DB      Keon Williams, Sr., Gardner-Webb

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK       Alex Catron, Jr., Coastal Carolina

P          Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb

LS       Richard Wright, R-Sr., Liberty

KR      Devin Brown, Fr., Coastal Carolina

PR       Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College

SECOND-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE

OFFENSE

QB      Josh Woodrum, R-Soph., Liberty

RB      Desmond Rice, Jr., Liberty

RB      Juanne Blount, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb

WR     Tobi Antigha, Jr., Presbyterian College

WR     Sam Patterson, Soph., VMI

WR     DeMario Bennett, Sr., Coastal Carolina

TE       Mike Estes, R-Fr., Gardner-Webb

OL      Jonathan Burgess, Soph., Liberty

OL      Mitch Hanson, R-Jr., Liberty

OL      Will Lucas, Sr., VMI

OL      Greg Ray, R-Jr., Liberty

OL      Tim Fowler, R-Sr., Presbyterian College

DEFENSE

DL      Cory Freeman, R-Sr., Liberty

DL      James Smith, Jr., Charleston Southern

DL      Dylan Black, Jr., Charleston Southern

DL      Calvin Hollenhorst, R-Soph., Coastal Carolina

LB      Mike McClure, Sr., Coastal Carolina

LB      Chad Geter, Soph., Gardner-Webb

LB      Weston Reber, R-Sr., VMI

LB      Scott Hyland, Sr., Liberty

DB      Elijah Lee, Sr., Charleston Southern

DB      Demaris Freeman, R-Jr., Charleston Southern

DB      Richie Sampson, Soph., Coastal Carolina

DB      Denzel Rice, Jr., Coastal Carolina

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK       Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb

P        David Eberhardt, R-Sr., VMI

LS       Hudson Smith, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb

KR       Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College

PR       Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., Coastal Carolina

ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM

Kirby Broome, Sr., TE, Charleston Southern

Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., WR, Coastal Carolina

Lucas Beatty, R-Jr., QB, Gardner-Webb

Scott Hyland, Sr., LB, Liberty

Stephen Doar, R-Soph., P, Presbyterian College

Ty Garvin, R-Jr., LB, VMI

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., RB, Coastal Carolina

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Quinn Backus, Jr., LB, Coastal Carolina

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LaDarius Hawthorne, Sr., DB, Coastal Carolina

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Daniel Croghan III, R-Fr., QB, Charleston Southern

COACH OF THE YEAR

Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern

SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Scott Hyland, Sr., LB, Liberty

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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