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Big South Best 16 Players Named to All-Conference Teams

November 26, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Walt Aikens (19), Kevin Fogg (3) and Nick Sigmon (45) were three of Liberty's 16 Big South all-conference selections.

After claiming its sixth Big South title in seven years, Liberty led the league with 16 players earning Big South all-conference honors, as the office released its 2013 Big South football all-conference listings earlier today.

Liberty and Coastal Carolina dominated the all-conference teams, securing a combined 31 of the 58 players named to the first and second team listings. The two programs, who shared this year's Big South title, both finished with nine first-team honorees, while Liberty (seven) edged Coastal Carolina (six) by one second-team selection.

Following the Flames and the Chanticleers was Gardner-Webb who has 12 all-conference nods. Charleston Southern had seven all-conference selections, while Presbyterian College and VMI rounded out the listings with four award winners apiece.

For the second year in a row, a Liberty player secured the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, this year going to Scott Hyland (last year was wide receiver Pat Kelly). The senior linebacker has posted a 3.94 cumulative GPA as a biology/pre-med major and is a two-time Capital One All-District III first-team honoree.

Hyland ranked fourth on Liberty's squad with 57 tackles (26 solo, 31 assisted), to go along with 6.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. He finished his career with 34-consecutive starts and is Liberty's active career tackles leader with 175 career stops.

Liberty's first-team all-conference honorees include: Darrin Peterson (So., WR), Brandon Apon (Sr., TE), Hunter Steward (Sr., OL), Chima Uzowihe (So., DL), Nick Sigmon (Jr., LB), Jacob Hagen (Jr., DB), Walt Aikens (Sr., DB), Kevin Fogg (R-Sr., DB) and Richard Wright (Sr., LS).

Liberty's second-team all-conference award winners include: Josh Woodrum (R-So., QB), Desmond Rice (Jr., RB), Jonathan Burgess (So., OL), Mitch Hanson (Jr., OL), Greg Ray (Jr., OL), Cory Freeman (Sr., DL) and Scott Hyland (Sr., LB).

Coastal Carolina secured the three Player of the Year awards. Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was named Big South Offensive Player of the Year, linebacker Quinn Backus was named Big South Defensive Player of the Year and return specialist LaDarius Hawthorne was named the Special Teams Player of the Year.

Following one of the most successful first-year coaching runs in Big South history, Charleston Southern's Jamey Chadwell was named the Big South Coach of the Year.

Rounding out the top award winners was Buccaneers' quarterback Daniel Croghan, III, who was named the Big South Freshman of the Year.

2013 Big South Football Awards Listing

First-Team All-Conference
Offense

QB – Alex Ross, R-So., Coastal Carolina
RB – Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., Coastal Carolina
RB – Christian Reyes, Jr., Charleston Southern
WR – Kenny Cook, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb
WR – Matt Hazel, Sr., Coastal Carolina
WR – Darrin Peterson, So., Liberty
TE – Brandon Apon, Sr., Liberty
OL – Jamey Cheatwood, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL – Hunter Steward, Sr., Liberty
OL – Chad Hamilton, R-Jr., Coastal Carolina
OL – Drew Herring, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
OL – Clayton Truitt, Jr., Charleston Southern

Defense
DL – Shaquille Riddick, Jr., Gardner-Webb
DL – Preston Pemasa, Sr., Gardner-Webb
DL – Chima Uzowihe, So., Liberty
DL – O.J. Le'iatua Mau, So., Gardner-Webb
LB – Quinn Backus, Jr., Coastal Carolina
LB – Tanner Burch, Jr., Gardner-Webb
LB – Nick Sigmon, R-Jr., Liberty
LB – Calvin Bryant, Jr., Charleston Southern
DB – Jacob Hagen, Jr., Liberty
DB – Walt Aikens, Sr., Liberty
DB – Kevin Fogg, Sr., Liberty

DB – Keon Williams, Sr., Gardner-Webb

Special Teams
PK – Alex Catron, Jr., Coastal Carolina
P – Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
LS – Richard Wright, R-Sr., Liberty
KR – Devin Brown, Fr., Coastal Carolina
PR – Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College

Second Team All-Conference
Offense

QB – Josh Woodrum, R-So., Liberty
RB – Desmond Rice, Jr., Liberty
RB – Juanne Blount, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb
WR – Tobi Antigha, Jr., Presbyterian College
WR – Sam Patterson, So., VMI
WR – DeMario Bennett, Sr., Coastal Carolina
TE – Mike Estes, R-Fr., Gardner-Webb
OL – Jonathan Burgess, So., Liberty
OL – Mitch Hansen, Jr., Liberty

OL – Will Lucas, Sr., VMI
OL – Greg Ray, R-Jr., Liberty
OL – Tim Fowler, R-Sr., Presbyterian College

Defense
DL – Cory Freeman, Sr., Liberty

DL – James Smith, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL – Dylan Black, Jr., Charleston Southern
DL – Calvin Hollenhorst, R-So., Coastal Carolina
LB – Mike McClure, Sr., Coastal Carolina
LB – Chad Geter, So., Gardner-Webb
LB – Weston Reber, R-Sr., VMI
LB – Scott Hyland, Sr., Liberty
DB – Elijah Lee, Sr., Charleston Southern
DB – Demaris Freeman, R-Jr., Charleston Southern
DB – Richie Sampson, So., Coastal Carolina
DB – Denzel Rice, Jr., Coastal Carolina

Special Teams
PK – Jordan Day, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
P – David Eberhardt, R-Sr., VMI
LS – Hudson Smith, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
KR – Jeremiah McKie, Jr., Presbyterian College
PR – Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., Coastal Carolina

All-Academic Team
Kirby Broome, Sr., TE, Charleston Southern
Niccolo Mastromatteo, Sr., WR, Coastal Carolina
Lucas Beatty, R-Jr., QB, Gardner-Webb
Scott Hyland, Sr., LB, Liberty
Stephen Doar, R-So., P, Presbyterian College
Ty Garvin, R-Jr., LB, VMI

Offensive Player of the Year
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Sr., RB, Coastal Carolina

Defensive Player of the Year
Quinn Backus, Jr., LB, Coastal Carolina

Special Teams Player of the Year
LaDarius Hawthorne, Sr., DB, Coastal Carolina

Freshman of the Year
Daniel Croghan III, R-Fr., QB, Charleston Southern

Coach of the Year
Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Scott Hyland, Sr., LB, Liberty

Liberty's First-Team Award Winners:
Darrin Peterson, So., WR
Led the Flames and ranks No. 2 in the Big South in receptions (57) and receiving touchdowns (7) … posted four 100-yard receiving games during the year, including games against Coastal Carolina and VMI … two multiple receiving touchdown games … second-best sophomore receiving season in program history with 809 receiving yards.

Brandon Apon, Sr., TE
Big South's all-time career leader with eight career touchdowns as a tight end … team captain … ranked No. 2 on the team in touchdown reception (4) … posted career numbers this season in receptions (14) and receiving touchdowns … doubled his career receiving touchdown total in 2013 and almost doubled his receiving yards total … recorded a touchdown in three-straight games.

Hunter Steward, Sr., OL
2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … started 11 games at left tackle (missed one game due to injury) … first round draft pick in last year's CFL Draft (No. 6 pick overall) … two-year starter on the offensive line, allowing only one sack in two seasons … tied for the highest graded on the team in 2013 … 58 knockdowns … helped Liberty set a new program record with 36 rushing touchdowns.

Chima Uzowihe, So., DL
Started all 12 games … led Liberty and ranks No. 2 in the Big South in sacks (7.0) … second on the team and No. 5 in the Big South in tackles for a loss (9.0) … one of three players on Liberty's roster with a forced fumble and fumble recovery … recorded four of his seven sacks against Big South foes … third on the team in pass breakups (4) … recorded one of Liberty's three blocked kicks on the year.

Nick Sigmon, Jr., LB
Three-time Big South all-conference honoree (first team in 2012 and 2013; second team in 2011) … 2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … started all 12 games … led the team and ranks No. 4 in the Big South in tackles for a loss (10.5) … tied for the team lead in tackles (62) … led the team in assisted tackles (32) … helped Liberty rank No. 2 in the country in interception, recording his third career interception during the 2013 season … recorded 32 of his 62 stops in Big South games.

Jacob Hagen, Jr., DB
Had a breakout year in 2013, ranking third on the team in tackles (61) … posted career numbers in total tackles, solo tackles (34), assisted tackles (27) and interceptions … led the Big South and ranked No. 7 nationally with six interceptions … five of his six interceptions were recorded in conference games … tied for the Big South lead with 13 passes defended.

Walt Aikens, Sr., DB
Three-time Big South all-conference honoree (first team in 2013; second team in 2011 and 2012) … 2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … tied for the team lead in tackles (62) … led the team and ranks No. 3 in the Big South in solo tackles (50) … helped Liberty rank No. 2 in the country in interception (19), recording three interceptions to give him seven for his career … ranked seventh in the Big South in passed defended (9) … ranked fourth in interceptions (3).

Kevin Fogg, R-Sr., DB
Two-time Big South all-conference honoree (first team in 2013; second team in 2011) … 2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … returned from a season-ending injury in 2012 to rank sixth on the team in tackles (45) and second in solo stops (35) … 79.5 percent of his tackles on the year were solo stops … helped Liberty rank No. 2 in the country in interception (19), recording four interceptions to give him nine for his career … finished his career with 150 tackles and 17 pass breakups.

Richard Wright, R-Sr., LS
Three-time Big South first-team all-conference selection (2011, 2012 and 2013) … 2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … 2011 CSN Fabulous Fifty FCS All-America selection … finished his career with 45 consecutive starts at long snapper … long snapper for four different all-conference players (two kickers and two punters) and one All-American kicker during his four year playing career at Liberty.

Liberty's Second-Team Award Winners:
Josh Woodrum, R-So., QB
2013 Big South preseason all-conference selection … 2012 Big South Freshman of the Year … had a banner year, leading the Flames and ranked No. 1 in the Big South in passing yards (2,581) and passing touchdowns (19) … had a trio of three-touchdown games, including games against Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern … also rushed for a career-high five touchdowns … second-best sophomore passing season in program history with 2,581 passing yards.

Desmond Rice, Jr., RB
Finished the year with the second most rushing touchdowns in program history (16) … ranks No. 2 in the Big South in rushing touchdowns and yards per rush (5.2) … two 100-yard rushing games … eight of his 16 rushing touchdowns were against conference opponents … had a career game with 170 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Coastal Carolina … five multiple rushing touchdown games.

Jonathan Burgess, So., OL
Played in 11 games and started nine at left guard … tied for the highest graded on the team in 2013 … led the team with 69 knockdowns … allowed one sack in 2013 … versatile play, serving as the back-up at center … helped Liberty set a new program record with 36 rushing touchdowns … ranks second in the Big South in rushing yards per play and first in passing efficiency.

Mitch Hansen, Jr., OL
Has started 23 consecutive games  … 2013 Capital One Academic All-District selection … graded out fourth on the team as the starter at right tackle … helped Liberty set a new program record with 36 rushing touchdowns … led the Big South with fewest sacks allowed (14) … ranks second in the Big South in rushing yards per play and first in passing efficiency.

Greg Ray, Jr., OL
Started 11 games at center (missed one game due to injury) … 17 career starts … finished the season without allowing a sack … led the team with the fewest mental errors ... helped Liberty set a new program record with 36 rushing touchdowns … led the Big South with fewest sacks allowed (14) … ranks second in the Big South in rushing yards per play and first in passing efficiency.

Cory Freeman, Sr., DL
Two-time Big South second-team all-conference honoree (2012 and 2013) … 2013 Big South preseason-all-conference … started all 12 games … team captain … versatile player, playing both defensive tackle and defensive end during the year … helped Liberty finished the year ranked No. 7 nationally in scoring defense and No. 9 in total defense … one of five players on the team with multiple quarterback hurries … finished his career with 95 career tackles.

Scott Hyland, Sr., LB
Two-time Big South second-team all-conference honoree (2012 and 2013) … started all 12 games … finished his career with 34-consecutive starts … ranked fourth on the team in tackles (57) … second on the squad in assisted stops (26) … third on the team in tackles for a loss (6.5) … finished his career as Liberty's active career tackles leader with 175 career stops … helped Liberty finished the year ranked No. 7 nationally in scoring defense and No. 9 in total defense.