ROCK HILL, S.C. - Newberry College senior linebacker Will Newell was named the 2008 South Atlantic Conference Football Defensive Player of the Year, as the league announced its annual football honors Monday. A total of eight Newberry players made all-SAC teams, with five earning first team accolades.
Newell, a senior linebacker from Irmo, S.C., led Newberry in tackles for the third consecutive season, and finished his collegiate career with 338 total tackles, which is the fifth most in Newberry College history. He finished the 2008 season with 91 total tackles for an average of 9.1 stops per game. He recorded six tackles for loss and two sacks and forced two fumbles. He also registered five quarterback hurries, broke up three passes and snagged his first career interception on Homecoming night against Catawba. He was a defensive captain this season as the scarlet and gray claimed their second SAC Championship in the last three seasons.
Newell is only the second Newberry player to earn SAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and the first since Charlie Coles in 1978, which was the league's fourth season of existence.
Joining Newell as first team all-South Atlantic Conference honorees are wide receiver Kelton Tindal (Sumter, S.C.), offensive lineman Marchent Faustin (Summerville, S.C.), defensive lineman David Harris (Ninety Six, S.C.) and defensive back Kamaal McIlwain (Fort Mill, S.C.).
Tindal finished his junior campaign with 39 receptions for 745 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 19.1 yard per catch and 74.5 yards per game. His 745 yards is the seventh best receiving year in Newberry history. He now has 1,461 career receiving yards, which places him sixth all-time for the scarlet and gray.
Faustin capped his career with his third straight season in which he earned an all-SAC honor. He finished his career with a total of 41 starts, including the last 37 consecutive games.
Harris wrapped up his collegiate career with his first all-SAC honor. The senior defensive lineman made 34 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also recovered two fumbles with 63 return yards, including a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown in his final game last weekend at Brevard.
McIlwain, a sophomore from Fort Mill, had one of the more eye-catching breakout seasons in recent memory by any SAC player. After making 21 tackles in 2007, McIlwain followed that up with 30 tackles in his sophomore campaing. He also recorded a solo sack from his cornerback position. He led the Newberry squad with three interceptions and eight pass breakups, for a total of 11 passes defended. He also snagged two fumble recoveries, and blacked two kicks - both of which came in the win over Catawba on Homecoming. He earned one Special Teams Player of the Week honor as well as one Defensive Player of the Week honor.
Joining the five first-teamers from Newberry are three selections to the all-SAC second team, all of which are first-time selections - offensive lineman Matt Holmes (Johnston, S.C.), defensive lineman Lance Clark (Florence, S.C.) and defensive back Andre Moyd (Andrews, S.C.).
Holmes, a sophomore, started all 10 games this season at center, and was one of the offensive line's best blockers as the season wore on.
Clark, also a sophomore, recorded 28 tackles on the season, but led the scarlet and gray in sacks with five. He recorded a total of six tackles for a loss and three more quarterback hurries.
Moyd, a junior, recorded 24 tackles this year and chipped in with two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
South Atlantic Conference football co-champion Carson-Newman College led the way with 12 selections, while Tusculum followed closely with 11..
Tusculum senior quarterback Corey Russell, who threw for 3,513 yards and 31 touchdowns, was named the Offensive Player of the Year.
Newberry senior linebacker Will Newell, who was the leading tackler on a Newberry team that ranked second in total defense, was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Tusculum coach Frankie DeBusk, who guided the Pioneers to the league championship and a first-ever berth into the NCAA Division II playoffs, was named Coach of the Year.
Mars Hill College freshman wide receiver John Brown, who led the team with seven touch down receptions and led the conference in all-purpose yards, was named Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Catawba College freshman linebacker Lakeem Perry, who led the Indians in tackles in his first season, was named Defensive Freshman of the Year.
Carson-Newman College senior offensive lineman Thomas Battle received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the second year in a row.
Tusculum College tight end Jarrell NeSmith was named the Football Scholar Athlete for the second year in a row. NeSmith is a junior majoring in pre-medicine and carries a 3.83 GPA.
Carson-Newman senior offensive lineman Thomas Battle, who anchored an offensive line that averaged 323 yards rushing per game, received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
Tusculum led the way with seven of its 11 All-Conference members named to the first team. Carson-Newman had six first-team selections.
Mars Hill and Newberry each had eight All-Conference selections. Newberry had five first-team picks .
Wingate University landed six on the All-Conference team, while Lenoir-Rhyne had five.
Brevard College had two All-Conference honorees.
NeSmith was named a first-team All-Conference selection at tight end and caught 61 passes for 583 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He ranked second in the league in receptions per game.
He received the 2006-07 Duffield Award, presented to the Tusculum male student-athlete with the highest GPA and was the 2005-06 Tusculum Academic Freshman of the Year. He is a member of the South Atlantic Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll. He is also on the Dean's List, President's List and Charles Oliver Gray Honors List. He was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV team last week for the second year in a row.
In the community, NeSmith has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Adopt-a-Highway and Drug Awareness program at Holston Homes for Children i n Greeneville, Tenn. He also volunteers with the Lunch Buddies program at Doak Elementary School, which provides mentoring relationships between the Tusculum football players and the school children. He has spoken to youth and high school students on the importance of education and college life at South Greene High School and the Chucky Mullins center.
The head coaches in the conference select the All-Conference teams.
A complete list of the 2008 South Atlantic All-Conference Team follows:
2008 All-SAC Football Teams
First Team - Offense
Quarterback - Corey Russell, Tusculum
Running Back - Buck Wakefield, Carson-Newman
Running Back - Jamelle Cuthbertson, Catawba
Running Back - Nelson Woods, Wingate
Wide Receiver - Reggie Hubbard, Carson-Newman
Wide Receiver - Tyrea Allen, Mars Hill
Wide Receiver - Kelton Tindal, Newberry
Wide Rece i ver - Ryan Tallent, Tusculum
Tight End - Jarrell NeSmith, Tusculum
Offensive Line - Thomas Battle, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line - Terence Crosby, Catawba
Offensive Line - Chandler Rearden, Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Line - Marchent Faustin, Newberry
Offensive Line - Danny Partida, Tusculum
Placekicker - Colin Corpe, Lenoir-Rhyne
Long Snapper - Jordon Simmons, Lenoir-Rhyne
First Team - Defense
Defensive Line - Darius Wrentz, Carson-Newman
Defensive Line - Melquan Fair, Catawba
Defensive Line - Chris Dowdell, Mars Hill
Defensive Line - David Harris, Newberry
Linebacker - Brian Brown, Carson-Newman
Linebacker - Charles McAfee, Catawba
Linebacker - Will Newell, Newberry
Linebacker - Justin Scott, Tusculum
Defensive Back - Mario Russell, Carson-Newman
Defensive Back - Deshon Nesbitt, Mars Hill
Defensive Back - Kamaal McIlwain, Newberry
Defensive Back - Jeremy Thompson, Tusculum
Punter - John Gregory, Tusculum
Return Specialist - Patrick Pinchinat, Wingate
Second Team - Offense
Quarterback - Alex Good, Carson-Newman
Running Back - Ricky Harris, Carson-Newman
Running Back - George Washington, Mars Hill
Running Back - Marcus Foster, Tusculum
Wide Receiver - Nate Binder, Tusculum
Wide Receiver - Shawn Barrett, Wingate
Tight End - Ryan Webber, Wingate
Offensive Line - Jeff Weaver, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line - Eric Nelson, Mars Hill
Offensive Line - Josh Sims, Mars Hill
Offensive Line - Matt Holmes, Newberry
Offensive Line - Cam LeGrand, Wingate
Placekicker - Michael Pinkerton, Mars Hill
Long Snapper - Chad Case, Catawba
Second Team - Defense
Defensive Line - Brandon Harmon, Carson-Newman
Defensive Line - Brandon Sutton, Catawba
Defensive Line - Lance Clark, Newberry
Defensive Line - Rynel Butler, Tusculum
Linebacker - Stanley Jones, Brevard
Linebacker - Brandon Rawls, Brevard
Linebacker - Stan Galbraith, Mars Hill
Linebacker - Jarvis Littlejohn, Tusculum
Defensive Back - Jasmon Carpenter, Catawba
Defensive Back - Marcus Shuford, Lenoir-Rhyne
Defensive Back - Andre Moyd, Newberry
Defensive Back - Tylan Merkerson, Wingate
Punter - Chris Jones, Carson-Newman
Return Specialist - Reggie Hubbard, Carson-Newman
Return Specialist - Barry Tate, Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Player Of The Year - Corey Russell, Tusculum
Defensive Player Of The Year - Will Newell, Newberry
Offensive Freshman Of The Year - John Brown, Mars Hill
Defensive Freshman Of The Year - Lakeem Perry, Catawba
Jacobs Blocking Trophy - Thomas Battle, Carson-Newman
Coach Of The Year - Frankie DeBusk, Tusculum
Rushing per game - Jamelle Cuthbertson, Catawba, 114.1
Passing Avg. per game - Corey Russell, Tusculum, 319.4
Total Offense per game - Corey Russell, Tusculum, 375.1
Receptions per game - Ryan Tallent, Tusculum, 6.55
Receiving yards per game - Nate Binder, Tusculum, 81.5
All-Purpose yards per game - John Brown, Mars Hill, 133.8
Interceptions per game - Deshun Nesbitt, Mars Hill, .56
Pass Efficiency - Alex Good, Carson-Newman, 179.0
Punt Return Avg. - Kameron Kranz, Wingate, 7.9
Kick Return Avg. - Patrick Pinchinat, 35.1
Punting Avg. - John Gregory, Tusculum, 44.2
Scoring Avg. (TDs) - Buck Wakefield, Carson-Newman, 8.0
Scoring Avg. (Kick) - Gareth Rowlands, Tusculum, 6.6
Field Goal Pct. - Britt Blackmon, Newberry, 66.7
Tackles per game - Stanley Jones, Brevard, 9.8
Sacks per game - Maurice Harris, Mars Hill, .78
Tackles for loss per game - Justin Scott, Tusculum, 1.64
Scoring offense - Carson-Newman, 42.7
Scoring defense - Newberry, 18.3
Passing offense - Tusculum, 326.8
Passing defense - Wingate, 155.9
Rushing offense - Carson-Newman, 323.5
Rushing defense - Catawba, 133.2
Total offense - Carson-Newman, 485.8
Total defense - Catawba, 294.2