Contributed from: Blaine Kellar
For the first time in 42 years, the APSU Governors are Ohio Valley Champions. On Tuesday, Nov. 26, the APSU football program added some additional hardware to their trophy case.
A program-record 11 members of the Governors were selected for 2019 OVC honors, with a record-tying seven players first-team All-OVC selections. The Govs’ 11 player status leads the conference this season, UT Martin in second with 10.
The selections are headlined by the 2019 Roy Kidd Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year: Mark Hudspeth. The first-year coach from Mississippi State achieved the first nine-win season in program history, as well as the Governor’s first taste of the FCS playoffs. Hudspeth was also nominated as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is given to the FCS National Coach of the Year.
Of the eleven elected, seven student athletes earned first team bids. Quarterback JaVaughn Craig (30 total TDs, 3,100 yards) and tailback Kentel Williams (1,000 All-Purpose-Yards) led the way offensively this season and reaped the benefits of their hard work.
Offensive linemen Kyle Anderton and Blake Mitchell also earned first-team honors, their offensive line allowing the fourth-fewest sacks in the Football Championship Subdivision. Wideout Deangelo Wilson was tagged for All-Second Team in the conference, pulling down 12 touchdowns on the season, and amassing over 1,200 receiving yards.
Lineman Josephus Smith (19.5 TFL, 7.5 Sacks), safety Juantarius Bryant (52 Solo Tackles) and tackle Kordell Jackson (7 INT, 3 TD), received nominations for All OVC First Team Defense. Jackson earned an additional nomination for the Buchanan Award, presented to FCS’ National Defensive Player of the Year.
Fifth-year senior Shaun Whittinghill recorded 4 sacks along with 10 tackles for loss, securing a Second Team Defensive Selection. The Governor’s defense ranked ninth nationally while being the 5th best team against the run in the country.
Two APSU players were named to the Conference’s All-Newcomer Team, an award administered to first-year players in their respective division: Defensive lineman John Whiteside, and offensive guard Bucky Williams. Whiteside, a transfer from The Citadel, totaled 6.5 TFL in his inaugural season with APSU.