BCU’s Ryan Davis earns MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Honors

2011 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year-Ryan Davis

Associated Press– Bethune-Cookman’s Ryan Davis earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor as voted on by the MEAC head football coaches and sports information directors. 

Ryan Davis led the MEAC in sacks (12.0) and tackles for loss (21.5) and ranked in the top 10 nationally in both categories.  He ranked third on the team in tackles with 65 this season including 40 solo and 25 assisted.  He also recorded 17 quarterback hurries, eight forced fumbles, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.  He was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week once this season and was named the FCS Defensive Player of the Week once by the Sports Network. 

Sophomore running back Isidore Jackson joins Davis as a first team All-MEAC selectee.  Jackson finished the year as the conference’s second leading rusher gaining 866 yards on 146 carries with 7 rushing touchdowns.

The MEAC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker  Ryan Lewis, was an second team selectee as were fellow linebacker Reggie Sandilands, safety Jean Fanor, offensive lineman Natiel Curry, and offensive lineman Terrance Hackney.

Norfolk State quarterback Chris Walley and North Carolina A&T State running back Mike Mayhew were selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) Co-Offensive Players of the Year.

Greg McGhee of Howard earned the Rookie of the Year award and Norfolk State’s Blake Matthews was selected as the Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Seven-year head coach Pete Adrian of Norfolk State was named the Coach of the Year.  Adrian led the Spartans to its first-ever MEAC football title following a 9-2 overall finish and 7-1 mark in conference play.  The Spartans earned the conference title following a 47-14 victory over Morgan State on Saturday, Nov. 12.  The No. 19th ranked Spartans rose to its highest-ever ranking in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 poll and earned the MEAC’s automatic berth with the title. 

Senior Mike Mayhew capped off a tremendous four-year collegiate career with yet another conference top honor after receiving Rookie of the Year honors just three years ago. In 11 games Mayhew led the MEAC in rushing with 231 carries for 1,120 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 93 yards. Mayhew was named to the All-MEAC Preseason First Team and was MEAC Offensive Player of the Week once this season. He ranks 23rd in the nation in rushing and averaged 101.8 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.

Chris Walley led the MEAC in most of the passing categories this season including total yards (2,309), average per game (209.9), efficiency (148.5) and completions (211).   He also led the conference in total offense averaging 235 yards in 11 games.  The 6-2, senior from Tallahassee, Florida ranks 18th in the nation in pass efficiency and 33rd in total offense.  Walley completed 69.2-percent of his passes (211-305) with 17 passing touchdowns and ranked third on the team in rushing with 89 attempts and 276 total yards with five TDs on the ground. He was selected as the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week three times this season.

Greg McGhee led the Bison and was third in the MEAC in total offense averaging 197.5 yards per game.  The rookie connected on 56-percent of his passes (182-321-5) with 1,784 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 starts.  He was second on the team in rushing with 388 yards on 116 carries with four rushing touchdowns.  The Pittsburgh, Pa. native was selected as the MEAC Rookie of the Week five times this season.

Blake Matthews aided a powerful Spartan offense that accounted for 4,319 total yards including 1,843 yards on the ground. Behind Matthew’s blocking Norfolk State finished second in the MEAC in total offense and passing offense. He provided protection for four different players to rush for over 200+ yards. He also allowed senior quarterback Chris Walley to throw for 2,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. Matthews was named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week once this season and anchored a line that only gave up 13 sacks on the year.

2011 All-MEAC FOOTBALL HONORS

Player of the Year: Chris Walley, Norfolk State and Mike Mayhew, North Carolina A&T

Defensive Player of the Year: Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman                                            

Offensive Lineman of the Year: Blake Matthews, Norfolk State

Rookie of the Year: Greg McGhee, Howard                                                                                                   

Coach of the Year: Pete Adrian, Norfolk State

2011 All-MEAC FIRST TEAM

Offense

POS Name CL School Hometown
QB Chris Walley r-Sr. Norfolk State Tallahassee, Fla.
RB Isidore Jackson r-So. Bethune-Cookman Mossy Head, Fla.
RB Mike Mayhew Sr. North Carolina A&T Charlotte, N.C.
TE Lamont Bryant Sr. Morgan State Newport News, Va.
WR Willie Carter Sr. Howard Denmark, S.C.
WR Xavier Boyce r-Jr. Norfolk State Virginia Beach, Va.
OL Kendall Noble r-Sr. Norfolk State Rocky Mount, N.C.
OL Steven Robinson r-Sr. Florida A&M Tallahassee, Fla.
OL Corey Gwinner r-Sr. Howard Ypsilanti, Mich.
OL Blake Matthews r-Sr. Norfolk State Manassas, Va.
C Shelly Anthony r-So. Florida A&M Atlanta, Ga.
Defense        
DL Ryan Davis Sr. Bethune-Cookman Tampa, Fla.
DL Sackie Kerkulah r-Sr. Howard Willingboro, NJ
DL Josh Turner r-Sr. Norfolk State Chesterfield, Va.
DL Pat Washington r-Sr. South Carolina State Hollywood, S.C.
LB Keith Pough r-Jr. Howard Orangeburg, S.C.
LB Corwin Hammond r-Sr. Norfolk State Louisville, Ky.
LB Donovan Richard r-Sr. South Carolina State Georgetown, S.C.
DB John Ojo Jr. Florida A&M Tallahassee, Fla.
DB Micah Pellerin Sr. Hampton New Orleans, La.
DB Justin Ferrell Sr. North Carolina A&T Danville, Va.
DB Dominique Ellis r-Sr. South Carolina State Union City, Ga.
P Branden Holdren Jr. Florida A&M Jacksonville, Fla.
P/K Ryan Estep r-Sr. Norfolk State Chesapeake, Va.
Ret Edmond Baker r-Jr. Florida A&M Miami, Fla

2011 All-MEAC SECOND TEAM

Offense

POS Name CL School Hometown
QB Greg McGhee Fr. Howard Pittsburgh, Pa.
RB Asheton Jordan Jr. South Carolina State Summerville, S.C.
RB Travis Davidson Jr. Morgan State Redford, Mich.
TE Joe Hawkins Jr. Norfolk State Chicago, Ill.
WR Wallace Miles r-Sr. North Carolina A&T Atlanta, Ga.
WR Kevin Elliott r-Sr. Florida A&M Orlando, Fla.
OL Alex Harper r-Sr. North Carolina A&T Baltimore, Md.
OL Terrance Hackney So. Bethune-Cookman Chapel Hill, N.C.
OL Lawrence Brewer Sr. Morgan State Fort Washington, Md.
OL Branden Curry r-Sr. Florida A&M Hollywood, Fla.
C Natiel Curry r-Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
         
Defense        
DL Joey Christine Sr. Norfolk State Stephens City, Va.
DL Corey Berry r-Sr. Howard Orangeburg, S.C.
DL Ian Davidson Sr. Hampton Washington, DC
DL Zackary Stewart Sr. Morgan State Upper Marlboro, Md.
LB Reginald Sandilands Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
LB Delbert Tyler So. Hampton Monroeville, Pa.
LB Ryan Lewis Sr. Bethune-Cookman Pompano Beach, Fla.
DB Jean Fanor r-Sr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
DB DeVonte Reynolds r-Sr. Norfolk State Warsaw, Va.
DB Christian Thompson Sr. South Carolina State N. Lauderdale, Fla.
DB Lanny Kelly Sr. Howard Richmond, Calif.
P Jordan Stovall Jr. Hampton Elgin, S.C.
P/K Trevor Scott r-Sr. Florida A&M Jacksonville, Fla.
Ret Geovonie Irvine r-Jr. North Carolina Central Durham, N.C.
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Offensive and Defensive Line preview

It’s only fitting that we start our preseason preview by highlighting the units that are traditionally the most overlooked; the offensive and defensive lines.

Offensive Line—Grade B-

All-American Center (#70) celebrating with teammates

While QB Matt Johnson received much of the praise last year for the success of BCU’s vaunted “Speedway Offense”, it is the offensive line that deserves much of the credit.  All American Center Natiel Curry leads the men upfront.  The Senior from Miami Norland appears on numerous preseason All-American and “Watch List”.  Tackles Marquell Rozier and Alex Monroe join Curry as returning starters on the O-Line.  The Cats will have to replace both starting guards from last year’s squad. Expect Junior College transfers Stavion Lowe and Blake Pritchard to compete for starting positions and add depth in the trenches.  Lowe, a 4-star recruit who originally signed with LSU in 2009, projects well at both guard and tackle.  http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-Stavion-Lowe-64825

The Wildcat offensive line had their share of struggles inside the Redzone in 2010. It’s hard to know if their redzone woes were a result of play-calling, scheme, or execution.  What is known is that this unit must iron out their redzone issues and produce better results inside their opponents’ 20 yardline if they hope to improve upon last year’s success.

Defensive Line

2010 FCS playoffs vs. UNH

Last year’s defensive front was solid.  They didn’t get pushed around, but they didn’t make as many “splash plays” as the faithful would have liked.  They also seemed to struggle getting lined up properly from time to time.  However, this description of the group does not describe the play of defensive end Ryan Davis.  The stud from Tampa Blake led the team with 6.5 sacks and shared the team lead for the most ‘tackles for loss’ with 14.   The coaches believe he has next level talent and that offenses must account for him at all times. Erik Williams and Eugene Solomon are solid players who could blossom into difference makers in their 2nd year in this defense.

The greatest void along this front a year ago was the lack of a consistent inside push against the pass and an interior anchor against the run.  Harold Love, a Feather River Community College transfer, may provide the type of consistent productivity missing from the tackle position a year ago. He seems to possess the type of off-the-ball explosiveness required to be a disruptive force in the middle.  But Love may not have been the biggest addition to the defensive line this past offseason.  The Wildcats signed Coach Earl Lane to be their new defensive line coach.  Yes, that Earl Lane; the former LSU defensive line coach who helped the Bayou Tigers earn a BCS championship and helped Glenn Dorsey win the Lombardi and Outland Awards in 2007.

Fueled by the off the field leadership of Lane and the one the field play of Ryan Davis, we expect this bunch to be the most improved unit on the Wildcats’ squad.  Our grade; C-

Upcoming preview–Backs and Receivers