FCS 2018 Southland Awards

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE

Player of the Year: Chase Fourcade, QB, Nicholls

All in the family: Fourcade’s Uncle John set all kinds of passing records at Ole Miss and later played for the NO Saints. Photo: Brett Davis/AP

Nicholls State University quarterback Chase Fourcade was named 2018 SLC Player of the Year, marking the first time the Colonels claimed the league’s overall top prize.

The junior from Metairie leads the conference in passing efficiency (148.5) after throwing only six interceptions, the fewest in the Southland, while completing 176 passes for 2,447 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also ran for a team-high nine scores and rushed for 488 yards, which ranks as second most among Southland quarterbacks.

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Offensive Player of the Year: Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State

Ferguson, a record-breaking wide receiver, became the first Demon recognized on an All-American team since 2015, earning third-team honors from The Associated Press on its FCS All-American Team. Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Ferguson, a 6-foot-5 LSU transfer (2017), set Northwestern State single-season records in receiving yards (1,117) and touchdown receptions (13) while hauling in the second-most catches in school history (66). He declared for the 2019 NFL Draft early in December, forgoing his senior season.

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Defensive Player of the Year: B.J. Blunt, LB, McNeese

Blunt, a native of New Orleans, leads the Cowboys with 56 total tackles on the season to go along with seven sacks. Photo: Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press

Following one of the top performances in McNeese Football history, senior linebacker B.J. Blunt has been named this year’s Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Blunt, a native of New Orleans, led the Cowboys and ranked fifth in the nation with 11 sacks on the season while ranked No. 3 in the FCS with 20 tackles for a loss.

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Freshman of the Year: Jon Copeland, QB, Incarnate Word

QB Jon Copeland goes through drills at IWC football practice at Benson Field on Wednesday, Aug.8, 2018. Photo: Ronald Cortes

Copeland has been a leader on the team since he stepped foot on campus, breaking multiple UIW records as a freshman, including: passing yards in a single season (2,984), total offense (3,061), passing completions (208) and passing touchdowns (22). The freshman spearheaded the top offense in the conference and one of the best in the nation. UIW leads the conference in scoring, averaging 34.3 points per game, the 18th-best mark in the nation. The Cardinal offense ranks best in the conference and eighth best in the nation in total offense, averaging 493.3 yards per game.

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Co-Newcomers of the Year: Jordan Hoy, QB, Lamar, and Billy McCrary, RB, Abilene Christian

Hoy began the season as Lamar’s backup, but was forced into action when starter Darrel Colbert Jr. went down with an ankle injury. A transfer from Old Dominion, Hoy then proceed to lead Lamar to back-to-back road wins, and was named the conference’s offensive player of the week on both occasions. Hoy piled up 692 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns during those two games.

McCrary transferred to ACU from Cal where he played in 2015 and 2016 before redshirting in 2017. In 2018, he played in 10 games for the Wildcats, rushing for 724 yards on only 88 carries, McCrary is fast and explosive, posting an eye opening 8.2 yards per carry.

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Offensive Lineman of the Year: Garrett Bowery, Lamar

Bowery was a member of Schultz’s initial signing class at Lamar. A junior college-transfer, Bowery and the rest of the Lamar offensive line was a big reason why the Cardinals ranked 12th nationally in rushing yards per game.

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