It's time to start thinking CSpire Conerly
As always, Mississippi football has produced several candidates worthy of consideration for the CSpire Wireless Conerly Trophy, which goes annually to the Magnolia State’s most outstanding collegiate football player.
The C Spire Conerly Trophy will be presented at a banquet Nov. 27 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Each of the 10 football-playing senior colleges in Mississippi will select a finalist and voting will be done by a statewide panel of sports media. Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis won the CSpire Conerly in 2011.
What follows is a 2012 CSpire Conerly Trophy watch list, in alphabetical order:
• Mississippi College wide receiver Alex Archer: The senior has caught 34 passes for 674 yards and five touchdowns. His 82 yards per game receiving ranks him second in the American Southwest Conference.
• Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks: The senior All America candidate has intercepted four passes, bringing his career total to 16. His 320 yards of pass interception returns ranks him first among active college players.
• Southern Miss defensive end Jamie Collins: Collins, a senior, leads USM with 64 tackles, 12 tackles for losses and six sacks.
• Jackson State defensive end Joseph LeBeau: A senior from New Orleans, LeBeau ranks fourth in the NCAA Football Championship division with 14.5 tackles for loss, including six sacks and a forced fumble.
• Alcorn kick returner Terrance Lewis: The senior All-SWAC returner ranks second in the league in kickoff returns and fourth in all-purpose yardage. He has caught 22 passes.
• Belhaven cornerback Justin Mims: The junior ranks fourth in NAIA with four interceptions, including two he has returned for touchdowns.
• Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche: He leads Ole Miss with 52 tackles, including nine for losses and two sacks. He also has two pass interceptions.
• Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins: This junior ranks second in the SEC in rushing with 95 yards per game and first in all-purpose yardage with 145 per game.
• Millsaps quarterback Garrett Pinciotti: The senior has thrown for 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions and has won conference player of the week twice.
• Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson: This senior from Natchez has caught 45 passes for 812 yards and seven touchdowns.
• Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell: The junior has thrown for 15 touchdowns, compared to just two interceptions. He has thrown for 1,742 yards, 218 per game.
• Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott: The junior has run for 612 yards on 113 carries, an average of 5.4 per carry and 87.4 a game. He has six touchdowns rushing and another on a pass reception.
• Mississippi Valley State defensive tackle Robert Simpson: Leads the NCAA championship division with 16 tackles for loss.
• Delta State linebacker Ixavier Triplett: The junior from Scott Central has amassed 29.5 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in his career at DSU.
• Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace: Another junior, Wallace has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,649 yards, including 10 for touchdowns. Also has run for 263 yards and five touchdowns.
• Southern Miss cornerback Deron Wilson: Wilson, a junior, has moved into second place on USM’s all-time passes defended list with 32 passes broken up. He also leads the USM secondary with 43 tackles.