Brentwood, TN – The Ohio Valley Conference’s coaches and communications directors named Austin Peay State University (APSU) football wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson and quarterback Draylen Ellis the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and Co-Freshman of the Year, respectively. The duo highlighted a group of nine Governors recognized on the 2020-21 All-OVC Teams released Thursday.
Wilson, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, becomes the first Governors athlete to earn the league’s Offensive Player of the Year award since 1980 when Sonny Defilippis earned the honor. He also joins Carlton Flatt, who was the 1964 Offensive Player of the Year.
Ellis of Olive Branch, Mississippi, becomes the second Governors player to earn the OVC Freshman of the Year award since its establishment in 2004, joining Jeremiah Oatsvall, who won the 2017 edition of the award. Ellis was a four-time OVC Newcomer of the Week (out of the six OVC games played), and the March 16 STATS PERFORM National Freshman of the Week.
Wilson was one of four Austin Peay athletes named First Team All-OVC. Nickel back Kordell Jackson repeated as a first-team honoree while offensive tackle Bucky Williams and inside linebacker Jack McDonald also were first-team selections. Three additional Governors’ offensive linemen were Second Team All-OVC picks: offensive guards Colby McKee and Seth Johnson and offensive tackle Robert Holmes. Running back Brian Snead joined Ellis on the league’s All-Newcomer Team.
Wilson followed up a record-breaking 2019 campaign with 619 yards – sixth among FCS receivers – in a shortened and disjointed 2020-21 season. He did the bulk of his damage in OVC play, where he recorded 100 yards in four of the five games he played and averaged 112.4 yards per game with three touchdowns. Wilson also posted consecutive 10-reception games in the Govs’ upset wins against nationally-ranked Jacksonville State and Murray State to end the regular season.
Thrust into the starting role to begin the spring OVC slate, Ellis impressed out of the gate with 214 total offensive yards and two touchdowns at Tennessee Tech, which earned him the first of his four Newcomer of the Week honors. His breakout moment came in Week 3 when he lit up Southeast Missouri, tossing a school-record six touchdowns in a double-overtime victory.
The next week, Ellis threw for a career-best 305 yards – the most by a Govs quarterback since 2016 – and added four touchdowns in a loss to UT Martin. He capped the season with two touchdown throws and 227 passing yards in a victory against nationally-ranked Murray State.
A solid offensive line group provided Ellis and Wilson time to put their skills on display, and the league recognized its performance with four of the line’s five members earning All-OVC awards. Williams, McKee, Johnson, and Holmes were the workhorses of a unit that played most of the spring without much backup on the sidelines. Still, they allowed 6.67 tackles for loss per game and only 1.78 sacks per game, both numbers ranking among the FCS’ Top 60.
Jackson, of Birmingham, Alabama, did not see the ball thrown his way as much in 2020-21 after earning consensus All-American honors in 2019. So instead, he wreaked havoc in the opposing offense’s backfields. He led all OVC tacklers with 10.5 tackles for loss – seven of those coming in OVC play, where he also had four pass breakups and an interception.
McDonald, a Brentwood product, again led Austin Peay with 70 tackles in 2020-21, ranking 10th among all FCS tacklers. His 8.7 tackles per game were fourth-best in league action, where he also ranked second in tackles for loss (1.42/game) and ninth in sacks (0.42/game). McDonald posted double-digit tackle totals three times during the OVC schedule, including a season-best 13 tackles at Southeast Missouri.
Snead was the most exciting man in football in the Governors’ victory against Tennessee State, Feb. 28, when his first three carries went for touchdowns, and he set an FCS record with 204 rushing yards in the first quarter. He followed that with a 138-yard outing at Southeast Missouri that included a 41-yard touchdown run to open the scoring before an injury ended his season. Still, he rushed for 434 yards in three OVC games, ranked fifth among all OVC runners, and his 522 yards this season was the 18th-best effort by an FCS rusher.