CCU’s Backus, Hazel make CFPA preseason watch list

Coastal Carolina senior receiver Matt Hazel and junior linebacker Quinn Backus have been named to the College Football Performance Awards’  national watch list for their respective positions.

Hazel is a two-time All-Big South selection and Backus is the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year.

Hazel tied a Coastal Carolina season record with 61 receptions, while Niccolo Mastromatteo had 47 (third on the CCU single season list) and DeMario Bennett had 43 (4th). Hazel additionally tallied a team-best 799 receiving yards – second on the season list, while Bennett’s 599 yards ranks fourth and Mastromatteo’s 571 ranks fifth.

Hazel left a positive impression on the national media as he stood out in the Chanticleers’ second round loss to highly-touted Old Dominion, catching nine passes for 155 yards and two scores. For the season, Hazel ranked third in the Big South in receptions (4.69 per game) and receiving yards (61.46). For his career, Hazel has 113 receptions, 19 touchdown receptions and 1,563 receiving yards – all second on the CCU all-time list behind Jerome Simpson.

Backus was an All-American, first team All-Big South pick, two-time National Defensive Player of the Week and five-time Big South Player of the Week in 2012. He set a Coastal Carolina record with 139 tackles in 13 games during the 2012 season, which ranks second on the Big South single-season chart, and had 123 tackles during the 11-game regular season, which is also a CCU record.

Backus had eight games with at least 10 tackles and he led the Chants in stops seven times. Backus is the only player last season among the NCAA FCS to have at least: 100 tackles (139/10.69 avg.), 5.0 tackles for losses (8.0), 2.0 sacks (2.5), two interceptions (2), two forced fumbles (3), 2 fumble received (2) and two pass break-ups (4).

In the Big South final statistics, Backus ranked second in tackles (10.69 average), seventh in tackles for losses, ninth-tied in sacks, ninth-tied in interceptions, first-tied in fumbles forced and first-tied in fumbles received.

Coastal Carolina begins its 11th season of football Aug. 31 at South Carolina, plays its 2013 home opener the following week versus Furman (Sept. 7) and will begin defense of its 2012 Big South Championship on Oct. 12 when Gardner-Webb comes to Brooks Stadium.

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