Inaugural Orangeburg Touchdown Club All-State College Team Announced
by Thomas Grant, Orangeburg Times & Democrat senior sports writer
ORANGEBURG, S.C. - The best college football players in South Carolina once again have a place of honor.
In August, the Orangeburg Touchdown Club announced a plan to revive an old tradition from years past. Selecting from the Palmetto State’s 13 colleges and universities which complete in Division I, Division I-AA, Division II and NAIA, an All-State College Football Team would be established in order to recognize those players at each position.
Based on the recommendations and nominations provided by the sports information directors at each of the schools, a ballot was first distributed for voting to in-state journalists and national college football observers. A total of 15 journalists, as well as The Orangeburg Touchdown Club members, whose tally counted as one bloc, participated in the voting and a final tally was completed on Dec. 4.
The end result of the voting was a 25-man team with widespread representation from throughout the state. Both Clemson and the University of South Carolina each had six selections, followed by four each for South Carolina State and Coastal Carolina, three from Furman University and a player each from Wofford and Newberry.
Among the All-State team members were two conference rookies of the year (USC wide receiver Sidney Rice and Clemson running back James Davis), a pair of national award finalists and former T&D Region high school standouts (Clemson cornerback Tye Hill of Woodland and Furman linebacker William Freeman of Swansea) and a co-defensive player of the year (Wofford’s Katon Bethany).
This talented collection of All-State players will gather together in Orangeburg on Jan. 19 for the Orangeburg Touchdown Club’s annual year-end banquet at The Cinema at Orangeburg Mall. Clemson University head football coach Tommy Bowden is the guest speaker at the event, which will also honor the top high school players in The T&D Region.
Ingle Martin, Senior, 6-3, 224 lbs. (Furman)
The University of Florida transfer and second-team All-Southern Conference passer has ranked among the top Division I-AA quarterbacks during his two seasons with the Paladins. Not only is the Nashville, Tenn. native the school’s career passing leader with 5,313 yards, he also owns the single-season record for passing yards and touchdowns thrown, both established last season. In addition to his passing talents, Martin is a first-team All-SoCon punter who has averaged 43.1 yards per game this season.
DeShawn Baker, Junior, 6-1, 220 lbs. (South Carolina State)
After starting out slowly following preseason surgery for a torn meniscus, Baker finished the regular-season as the second Bulldog to rush for over 1,000 yards in two consecutive seasons. In just nine games, the Charlotte, N.C. native was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s third-leading rusher with 1,037 yards on 205 carries and 10 touchdowns. Baker also had six receptions for 171 yards in earning second-team All-MEAC honors for the second straight year.
James Davis, Freshman, 5-11, 210 lbs. (Clemson)
Highly touted out of Douglass High School in Atlanta, Ga., where he rushed for 7,339 career yards and 80 touchdowns, Davis made an immediate impact for the Tigers. He was a two-time National Freshman of the Week honor who, despite having to wear a cast during the final four games to protect a broken wrist, finished with 729 yards and eight touchdowns and had 17 catches for 131 yards. Davis became the fifth Tiger in school history and first since 1995 to receive the award.
Tymere Zimmerman, Redshirt Junior, 6-3, 208 lbs. (Newberry)
In just three seasons, the Bennettsville native, who was briefly enrolled at South Carolina State, is already considered arguably the best Indians’ receiver ever. Already the all-time leader in touchdown receptions and near the top in receiving yards, Zimmerman led the South Atlantic Conference with 59 catches for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games this season. He was named to the Daktronics All-Southeast Region second-team and played forward the previous two seasons for the Indians’ basketball team.
Chansi Stuckey, Redshirt Junior, 6-0, 180 lbs. (Clemson)
The school record-holder for most receptions (11) in the annual Spring Game, Stuckey continued his strong play during the fall with a conference-leading 62 catches for 761 yards and four touchdowns. The first-team All-ACC selection out of Warner Robins, Ga. had three 100-yard receiving games, including a 156-yard effort on 11 catches and two touchdowns against then-16th-ranked Florida State. Stuckey also had 221 kick return yards and a touchdown.
Sidney Rice, Redshirt Freshman, 6-4, 191 lbs. (USC)
An acrobatic, 30-yard touchdown catch in the endzone during the Garnet and Black Spring Game was only a prelude for the spectacular play exhibited by the Gaffney native. The Southeastern Conference and Rivals.com National Freshman of the Year and SI.Com honorable mention All-American, Rice set a school record with touchdown catches in eight consecutive games and 12 touchdown catches overall. He also led the conference with 952 yards, including 112 yards each in wins over Tennessee and Florida, and needs just two more touchdown catches to tie the national record for a freshman.
Jerome Simpson, Sophomore, 6-3, 185 lbs. (Coastal Carolina)
A year after winning Big South Freshman of the Year honors, the Reidsville, N.C. native avoided the “sophomore jinx” by setting school records with 53 catches for 527 yards and nine touchdowns to earn second-team honors. He also set a school record with 10 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a highlight-reel, one-handed grab in the closing seconds of a 31-27 victory over defending Division I-AA national champion James Madison. Simpson also had a game-winning reception in a one-point win over South Carolina State and is already the career leader in receptions (59), receiving yards (946) and receiving touchdowns for the Chanticleers.
Clyde Reed, Junior, 6-6, 305 lbs. (South Carolina State)
Following a solid first full season of action, the tackle out of Georgetown anchored an offensive line which enabled the Bulldogs to lead the league in total offense (395.4 yards per game) and passing efficiency and second in sacks allowed (35). Reed’s efforts also helped running back DeShawn Baker reach the 1,000-yard plateau for the second straight year and quarterback Clevelend McCoy break a 20-year school-record for completion percentage.
Patrick Covington, Senior, 6-3, 283 lbs. (Furman)
Rated the nation’s sixth top offensive guard by The Sports Network, the Charlotte, N.C. native is a major catalyst for a Paladin offense which ranks among the nation leaders in total and rushing offense and points scored per game. As a team, Furman allowed the third-lowest number of sacks in the Southern Conference and the play upfront by Covington helped quarterback Ingle Martin rank second in total yards with 2,904 yards.
Dustin Fry, Redshirt Junior, 6-2, 320 lbs. (Clemson)
A three-year letterman, the Summerville native is considered the team’s strongest player after bench-pressing 485 pounds during the team’s winter strength meet. This season, Fry made the seamless transition from backup to first-team starting center and is blocking upfront helped the revamped Tigers’ offense rank second in total offense with 4,250 yards and 32 touchdowns and first in red-zone offense.
Na’Shan Goddard, Redshirt Senior, 6-5, 304 lbs. (USC)
A four-year letterman for the Gamecocks and co-winner of the team’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman award during the spring, the former Freshman All-American by The Sporting News continued his strong play during the regular season. Among the team leaders in knockdowns, Goddard was among the most consistent performers upfront during the Gamecocks’ second-half surge and lived up to his preseason All-SEC selection.
Raymond Harrison, Reshirt Freshman, 6-2, 275 lbs. (South Carolina State)
In his first active year with the Bulldogs, Harrison stepped into the center position and played like a seasoned veteran. A second-team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection, Harrison earned consecutive conference offensive lineman of the week honors and was a two-time National Lineman of the Week by the Weekly Football Gazette.
William Freeman, 6-3, 235 lbs. Senior, (Furman)
One of the most decorated players in Paladin history, the Swansea native, preseason All-American and 2004 winner of the Harry Carson National Defensive Player of the Year award is finishing off his senior campaign in strong fashion. He’s amassed a career high in tackles, tackles for loss and pass breakups and was named Southern Conference Player of the Week on two occasions. Freeman also posted a single-game career-high in tackles (17) against Georgia Southern and had a game-deciding blocked field goal in a regular-season victory over Appalachian State.
Anthony Waters, Redshirt Junior, 6-3, 235 lbs. (Clemson)
The Lake View native has played in 34 of 35 games in three seasons for the Tigers. This past season, Waters led the team in tackles (102) and was second in pass break ups (8). In the 10 games Waters played in this season, he was the leading tackler in five of the games and helped the Tigers rank fourth in the ACC in points allowed (18.3 points per game) and fifth in Red Zone Defense.
Maurice Simpkins, Senior, 6-0, 225 lbs. (Coastal Carolina)
Since transferring from Catawba College three years ago, the former Batesburg-Leesville standout started in all 33 games he played as a Chanticleer. With 91 tackles, 10 going for losses, three sacks and two interceptions this season, Simpkins earned All-Big South Conference first-team honors for the third consecutive year.
Chris Tucker, Redshirt Senior, 6-1, 288 lbs. (USC)
The Decatur, Ga. native came on strong late at defensive tackle in his senior year, collecting more tackles (21) this season than he had the in previous three seasons combined. His best game took place Nov. 12 against Florida where he intercepted a Chris Leak pass and returned it 48 yards to set up a touchdown for the Gamecocks and had a key sack late in the 30-22 upset victory. The effort earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.
Matthew Briggman, Senior, 6-3, 260 lbs. (SCSU)
A four-year starter for the Bulldogs and high school teammate of Furman linebacker William Bennett, the Swansea native was among the leaders in tackles for defensive lineman. Briggman was tied for second on the team in sacks (2.5) and had 23 tackles, 7.5 going for losses.
Charles Bennett, Redshirt Senior, 6-4, 255 lbs. (Clemson)
A preseason All-ACC selection who was coached in high school by Bamberg-Ehrhardt head coach Ron Duncan, the Camden native was second on the team in quarterback pressures (16) to go with 45 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and an interception for the Tigers at the defensive end position.
Katon Bethany, Senior, 6-2, 285 lbs. (Wofford)
The Milton, Wisc. native was the Southern Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year after he tallied 64 tackles, 15 going for losses and 6.5 sacks, four coming against VMI. Bethany was also just the second Terrier in school history to be named to the ESPN The Magazine’s Academic first-team All-American honors.
Tye Hill, Redshirt Senior, 5-10, 180 lbs. (Clemson)
Having fully made the transition from running back prospect out of Woodland High School to All-ACC first-team defensive back, the St. George native has made himself into a first-round draft pick. One of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top defensive back, Hill has collected three interceptions and seven pass breakups this season and helped the Tigers hold both Florida State and the University of South Carolina without an offensive touchdown. His 40 pass deflections rank seventh all-time at Clemson and he set a school-record for a cornerback with five tackles for losses.
Ko Simpson, Sophomore, 6-1, 202 lbs. (USC)
Last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year took his game to another level for the bowl-bound Gamecocks. A first-team all-conference selection, the Rock Hill free safety led the team in tackles (94) and pass breakups (9)) and led all SEC defensive backs by averaging 8.5 tackles per game. Earlier in the season, Simpson had 13 tackles and a 19-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against Kentucky to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Jonathan Joseph, 5-11, 187 lbs. (USC)
A year after having his 2004 season curtailed by a broken foot, the junior college transfer and Rock Hill native came back with a vengeance this season. Considered the fastest player on the Gamecocks, his four interceptions led the team, including a 42-yard pick returned for a touchdown against Georgia. Joseph was also fifth on the team in total tackles (50).
Quinton Teal, Senior, 6-1, 187 lbs. (Coastal Carolina)
A first-team All-Conference selection last season, the Bennettsville native led the Big South in interceptions (five) for the second straight year and is the Chanticleers’ all-time interception leader (13). Starting all 11 games at safety, Teal recorded 66 tackles, 38 solo, and posted his single-game career-high in tackles (11) against both South Carolina State and Appalachian State.
Josh Hoke, Junior, 6-3, 195 lbs. (Coastal Carolina)
The two-time All-Big South first-team selection and National Football Weekly Gazette National Special Teams of the Week winner was a perfect 38-38 in field goals and 14-22 in field goals in tying for the conference-lead in points (80) this season. A native of Statesville, N.C., Hoke nailed three field goals of 45 or more yards, two of which occurred in the same game against Delaware State and one which was a school-record from 49 yards. In addition to his on-field exploits, Hoke became the first Chanticleer football player to be named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-Academic first team.
Josh Brown, Redshirt Senior, 6-3, 206 lbs. (USC)
A three-year starter as a punter and place-kicker, Brown was a preseason third-team All-SEC selection who averaged 40 yards per punt for the Gamecocks this season. Of his 52 points, 15 landed inside the 20-yard line and six were caught for fair catches. As a place-kicker, Brown was 9-11 and his 49-yard field goal which lifted USC to a historic 16-15 victory at Tennessee and earned him the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-kicker Award.
Rondriekas Darby, Senior, 5-9, 175 lbs. (SCSU)
A double-threat both as a wide receiver and a kick returner, the Neeses native and second-team All-MEAC player led the conference in receiving yards per catch (21.7) and all-purpose yards (131.5) and was fourth nationally in kickoff return yards (30.5). He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns and a punt return for a score and caught 29 passes for 629 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bulldogs.