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Outstanding 2019 Austin Peay State University Football season honored at Night of Champions

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) football players, coaches, alumni and fans gathered Friday night to celebrate the historic 2019 season at the Night of Champions in the Dunn Center.

This event put the final bow on a campaign that yielded the program’s first Ohio Valley Conference title since 1977, its first-ever FCS Playoff appearance and resulting trip to the quarterfinals, as well as the program’s first consensus All-American since 2002 and myriad Coach of the Year accolades for the architect of the success, head coach Mark Hudspeth.

Austin Peay State University holds Night of Champions to honor the 2019 APSU Football team. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay State University holds Night of Champions to honor the 2019 APSU Football team. (APSU Sports Information)

The Red Roberts Offensive MVP honors were accorded to quarterback JaVaughn Craig, who entered early in game two and piloted the greatest season in program history.

The Chattanooga native threw for a program-record 3,208 yards and 28 touchdowns while rushing for 714 yards and another nine scores, earning Third-Team STATS FCS All-American honors.

He accounted seven touchdowns—five throwing, two rushing—in October against Tennessee Tech, earning a slew of league and national honors in the wake of a dynamic performance.

Defensively, who else but consensus All-American Kordell Jackson could take MVP honors? Jackson’s junior season will go down in history as one of the greatest ever for an Austin Peay State University defensive back. The ball simply continued to find its way into his hands over the course of 2019. The Birmingham, Alabama native was responsible for 10 of the 25 turnovers the APSU Govs gained last season, leading the OVC. He also had eight stops behind the line of scrimmage in his role in the slot. Against Mercer, Jackson became just the 33rd player in an FCS contest with two pick-sixes in the same game.

Jackson’s partner in the defensive backfield, Juantarius Bryant earned Skill Defensive Player of the Year honors. The senior captain was second on the team with 90 tackles in his second All-OVC campaign, stepping up in the run game or dropping deep into coverage to do whatever it took to help the Govs win. This was on display at Mercer, when the Nashville native posted eight tackles and broke up a pair of passes against a high-octane Bear offense.

A dynamic receiving duo received the John Ogles Skill Position Player of the Year honor, which was shared by DeAngelo Wilson and Baniko Harley. The duo combined for 142 catches, 2,403 yards and 22 touchdowns, with Wilson earning second-team All-American honors by the Associated Press and STATS Inc. after finishing with 89 catches for 1,564 yards and 15 touchdowns—all program records. Harley finished with 43 catches for 782 yards—an eye-popping 18.2 yards per catch—and six scores.

Another important piece of the equation, All-OVC defensive lineman Josephus Smith, was named Defensive Lineman of the Year. Smith stepped up to anchor the defensive front and emerged as one of the best run-stoppers in the nation, earning first-team All-OVC honors. Smith earned a program-record 19.5 tackles for loss, including 17 against OVC opponents, including a 2.5 tackle for loss game against UT Martin that saw the APSU Govs hold the Skyhawks to negative-25 yards rushing—the third-best FCS single-game effort in 2019.

The Five Strong Player of the Year, given to the most indispensable member of the offensive line, went to Kyle Anderton. Anderton waited his entire career for a season like the one he had in 2019. Spearheading the point of attack for the offense, Anderton captained a unit which led the OVC in scoring (34.5 ppg), total offense (419.2 ypg), third-down conversions (42.1 percent) and fourth-down conversions (62.1 percent). Against Tennessee Tech, the line’s performance helped the Govs pile up 614 yards total offense— the sixth-highest total in program history.

Another long-timer who received some well-earned recognition was punter Devin Stuart, who was named Specialist of the Year. On a team that moved the ball as well as Austin Peay State University, Stuart was able to flip the field on opponents and the former defensive back was incredibly successful in that regard. A redshirt senior, Stuart punted 62 times in 2019, placing 19 inside the opposing 20-yard line and none in the end zone for a touchback. The talented punter was one of 10 players across all Division I with 40 or more punts and no touchbacks in 2019.

Below is a complete list of award winners for the evening. The 2020 Govs gear up to get started with spring practice in March.

Red Roberts Offensive MVP: JaVaughn Craig
John Ogles Offensive Skill Player of the Year:
DeAngelo Wilson, Baniko Harley
Five-Strong Player of the Year:
Kyle Anderton
Skill Defensive Player of the Year:
Juantarius Bryant
Offensive Gamechanger Award:
Kentel Williams
Defensive Game Changer Award:
Trent Taylor
Defensive MVP Award:
Kordell Jackson
Defensive Lineman of the Year:
Joe Smith
F.A.S.T. Award:
Pat Walker
Specialist of the Year:
Devin Stuart
Special Teams Production Award:
Corey Simmons, Joseph Newberry
Special Teams Leading Tackler Award:
Juantarius Bryant
Defensive Leadership Award:
Juantarius Bryant
Offensive Leadership Award:
Prince Momodu
Offensive Drip Award (best swag):
Josh Alexander
Defensive Drip Award (best swag):
Prince Momodu
Total Gov Award:
Shaun Whittinghill
Courage Award:
John Wesley Whiteside
Bigs Lifter of the Year:
Marquise Griffin
Combo Lifter of the Year:
Prince Momodu
Skill Lifter of the Year:
Juantarius Bryant
The Offensive Earned It Award (former walk-on who earned a scholarship):
Hunter Schmeisser
The Defensive Earned It Award (former walk-on who earned a scholarship):
Jack McDonald
Academic Governor of the Year:
Trey Pruitt, Jacob Caughell, Bryce Robinson, Pat Walker, Nic Screnock, Corey Petersen
Offensive Look Player of the Year:
Terrell Vassel
Defensive Look Player of the Year:
Leland Wilhoite
Special Teams Look Player of the Year:
Jakeim Thompson
Academic Staff Highlight:
Haley Jacobi, Riley Plenge, Nia Gibbs-Francis
Unsung Hero Award:
Kadeem Goulbourne, Logan Birchfield


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