Under the presumption that there is a 2020 Ohio Valley Conference football season, Austin Peay will be well-represented. Seven Governors have been selected to be a part of the Preseason All-OVC football team.
OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche recently reported on the hypotheticals surrounding the upcoming football season.
“Back in June, our OVC Board of Presidents issued a statement saying that it was the intention of this conference to play sports and to have championships this fall, if the medical science supported. That certainly is our plan. Nothing has changed since that point in time, and we have worked as a staff, as a membership, to put plans in place to start this season, mindful of the backdrop of the pandemic,” DeBauche said.
The OVC Board of Presidents is guided by a series of principles, DeBauche stated.
“First and foremost, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and all participants, a desire to let our student-athletes play if the medical science really supports it, understanding that our decisions not only support the universities but support the local communities, that anything we do is consistent with the OVC’s values and that we put our medical professionals in a position that their decisions – relative to the health and safety of out student-athletes – can’t be challenged.”
While the current plan is for the fall football season to resume as scheduled, there are contingency plans in place dependent on the outbreak and severity of the novel coronavirus, DeBauche stated. A final decision on the season is to be determined in the coming weeks by the OVC Board of Presidents.
As for the preseason awards, wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson and defensive back Kordell Jackson headlined the Govs’ selections in their nominations for offensive and defensive player of the year, respectively. The vote was held by the league’s head football coaches and communications directors.
Wilson hauled in 89 receptions in 2019, amassing over 1,500 yards alongside 15 touchdowns. Jackson totaled 47 tackles from a season ago and was named a 2019 NCAA Consensus All-American for his play with the Governors.
Joining Wilson offensively is lineman Blake Mitchell and fellow wideout Baniko Harley. Mitchell was a first team conference selection in 2019, while Harley caught seven touchdowns on 53 receptions.
Four Govs were selected on the defensive side of the ball, including Josephus Smith (50 total tackles, 7.5 sacks), John Wesley Whiteside (2019 All-OVC Newcomer selection), Jack McDonald (58 solo tackles, 9.5 TFL) and the aforementioned Kordell Jackson.
Austin Peay’s seven total selections led the Ohio Valley Conference, besting the likes of Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin. The conference’s projected order of finish will be released sometime in August, per report. The Governors season is tentatively scheduled to begin on Aug. 29 against Central Arkansas in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff.