BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE
Offensive Player of the Year: Kenji Bahar, QB, Monmouth
Bahar, a fifth-year senior, has started 34 games for the Blue & White and was a Second Team All-Big South selection a season ago. Last year, Bahar set the Monmouth record for passing yards in a season while leading the Big South in passing yards, efficiency, yards per game, yards per completion and passing touchdowns. He is the first Monmouth player to earn Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The Baltimore native has started 26 consecutive games for the Blue & White and has appeared in 34 total contests, which is third all-time for a MU signal caller. Last season he accounted for 23 total touchdowns, including passing for 20. Bahar ranks fourth or higher in five of six career passing records at Monmouth and is just 1,855 yards away from taking the top spot from Brian Boland (2003-06).
Defensive Player of the Year: Bryson Armstrong, LB, Kennesaw State
Bryson Armstrong earned the 2019 Big South Defensive Player of the Year after pacing the Kennesaw State defense with 73 total tackles, turning in double-digit tackles against Missouri State (13), Charleston Southern (12) and North Alabama (10). He also recorded 10.5 tackles-for-loss, which ranked second on the squad.
Armstrong led a defense that leads the Big South in total defense (277.8), scoring defense (17.9) and rushing defense (90.8). The Owls stack up well nationally too, ranking fifth in total defense, seventh in rushing defense and eighth in scoring defense.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Alex Usry, PK, Charleston Southern
Usry capped off a season that set the CSU single season record with 19 field goals, tying the third-most by a Big South player in a single season.
The McDonough, Ga. native led all Big South placekickers in scoring average and sat third overall in the conference with 8.2 points per game. He posted the third-most field goals in Big South history with 19, while connecting on three 50-plus yard field goal attempts.
Usry made his debut in week with two field goals, including a 48-yard conversion against The Citadel. He connected on his first 50-yard field goal of the season on October 12 against Kennesaw State. He followed up the following week with a CSU-record 52-yard conversion on the road against North Alabama.
Offensive Freshman of the Year: Hajj-Malik Williams, QB, Campbell
Williams, a freshman from Atlanta, Ga., was a four-time Big South Freshman of the Week in 2019, earning honorable mention FCS Freshman of the Week nods five times. A STATS Jerry Rice Award Watch List finalist, Williams became the second Camel and first CU freshman to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a single season, throwing for 2,042 yards and 17 touchdowns. The QB also rushed for a team-high 664 yards and nine touchdowns, ranking third in the Big South in total offense (2,686), while standing in the top-six in rushing yards, rushing TDs, passing yards and passing TDs.
Defensive Freshman of the Year: Cody Cline, DB, Charleston Southern
The Concord, N.C. native had seven tackles (six solo) and a pass breakup in the season opener against Furman. He followed up with six more tackles the following week against South Carolina. He posted his first double-digit tackling effort with the Bucs against Monmouth with 10 tackles and a pass breakup against the Hawks.
The following week, Cline earned Big South Freshman of the Week recognition with a season-high 11 tackles and his first collegiate interception in CSU’s win over Gardner-Webb. He led all Big South freshmen in tackles per game (6.1).
Coach of the Year: Kevin Callahan, Monmouth
Callahan, the only head coach in program history, led the Hawks to their best season in the 27-year history of the program. Monmouth, ranked 11th in the latest AFCA Coaches’ Poll, won its first Big South title by going unbeaten in league play. The Hawks are winners of eight straight contests and won 10 games for fourth time in school history and the first time since 2006. Callahan’s program hosted its first NCAA FCS Playoff game when Holy Cross visited Kessler Stadium.
Monmouth (11-2), which set a program single-season record for wins, extended its winning streak, by beating Holy Cross (44-27), to a program-record nine and is unbeaten for the season at home. They lost to No. 2 seed James Madison (11-1) on Dec. 7 in a FCS pre-quarterfinal.
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