MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Offensive Player of the Year: Ryan Stanley, QB, Florida A&M
Stanley led the Rattlers to a 9-2 overall record this season and the program’s first national ranking since 2009. The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native was the top passer in the MEAC, averaging over 256 yards per game. He has broken four program career records at Florida A&M, setting new marks for passing touchdowns, passing completions, passing attempts and passing yards. He threw for 2,566 yards and 23 touchdowns this season and had three 300-yard games, including a 427-yard outing against South Carolina State. A First Team All-MEAC selection, he is also on the Watch List for the Walter Payton Award and a finalist for the Black College Football Player of the Year award.
He leaves the Rattlers as the all-time career leader in touchdowns (67), pass attempts (1,187), completions (636) and passing yards (8,424). He is ranked first in MEAC history in pass attempts and second in total passing yards (8,424) and pass completions.
Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Royster, DE, NC Central
Royster, the second MEAC Defensive Player of the Year from North Carolina Central, but the first since Alexander Jones won the award back in 1971 was a terror in the backfield for the Eagles during the 2019 season. He tied for the MEAC lead in both sacks and tackles for a loss this season. The Chesapeake, Virginia native was in the top 15 in the conference in overall tackles with 75 and ranked 22nd in all of FCS in sacks and tied for 33rd in tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles for an Eagles defense that was second in the MEAC and tied for 27th in the nation with 23 takeaways, and he was a First Team All-MEAC selection this season. His 75 tackles in 2019 were the most among NCCU defensive linemen in 25 years.
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Marcus Pettiford, OL, North Carolina A&T
Pettiford was a key player on North Carolina A&T State’s offensive line, as the unit produced the lone 1,000-yard rusher in the MEAC this season and one of the NCAA’s best running backs in Jah-Maine Martin, who leads the nation in rushing yards per carry and is second in scoring. Pettiford is a three-time MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week and opposing defenders had trouble getting to the Aggies’ backfield as the unit only allowed 12 sacks in the regular season.
Rookie of the Year: Corey Fields, QB, South Carolina State
Fields, a Hollywood, S.C. native, was a two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week and finished third in the MEAC in passing efficiency with 15 passing touchdowns. He threw for 1,652 yards with a passing efficiency of 138.7. He shattered South Carolina State’s school record on Nov. 9 when the Bulldogs defeated Howard 62-21. Fields finished the game 18-for-29 for 333 yards passing and seven touchdown passes, and he earned FCS STATS Freshman of the Week for his performance. He guided his team to a share of the 2019 MEAC championship and finished the season with 1,683 yards of total offense.
Coach of the Year: Buddy Pough, South Carolina State
Pough had the biggest turnaround of the season after the Bulldogs finished last season with a 5-6 overall record and a 4-3 mark in conference play. The 2019 season saw the Bulldogs finish 8-3 overall and 6-2 in MEAC play. Pough led South Carolina State to its 17th MEAC championship overall and the seventh in his tenure. The Bulldogs got a key program win over then-No. 8th ranked Wofford (champion of the Southern Conference) to start the season and never looked back.
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