C Spire Conerly Trophy watch list No. 1
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, the 2012 C Spire Conerly Trophy winner, is having a better season statistically in 2013. But that doesn’t mean he is without competition for the award that goes to Mississippi’s most outstanding college football player.
Wallace has quarterbacked the Rebels to a 5-3 record, throwing 11 touchdowns compared to three pass interceptions and he has also scored three touchdowns on the ground. In 2012, Wallace’s TD/interception ratio was 22-17.
Wallace is joined on this week’s first C Spire Conerly watch list by two teammates, safety Cody Prewitt and wide receiver Dontae Moncrief. Prewitt leads the Rebels with four interceptions and also has forced two fumbles and is second on the team with 48 tackles, including three for losses. Moncrief has caught 34 passes for 498 yards and four touchdowns.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott leads the Bulldogs in both rushing (568 yards) and passing (1,393 yards). He has produced 17 touchdowns, five passing, 10 rushing and two receiving.
State linebacker Benardrick McKinney, a freshman All-American in 2012, leads the Bulldogs with 31 solo tackles, including three for losses and one sack. All American guard candidate Gabe Jackson, a leading candidate for the first-ever Kent Hull Trophy, has paved the way for much of Prescott’s yardage.
Defensive tackle Kyri Thornton, in his fourth season (third as a starter) has played well for winless Southern Miss despite constant double-teams from opponents. The 308-pounder has 107 career tackles, including 28 behind the line of scrimmage.
SWAC leading Jackson State, 7-2 with a six-game win streak, is led by senior quarterback Clayton Moore, an original Ole Miss signee out of Louisville, who has has thrrown for 1,167 yards and run for 633. He has accounted for 11 touchdowns passing, 11 more running. Moore’s favorite target has been Zachary Pendleton who has caught 33 passes for 692 yards and eight touchdowns. The Tigers’s stingy defense is led by a pair of ball-hawking defensive backs, cornerback Qua Cox and safety Cameron Loeffler.
Alcorn State senior running back Arnold Walker leads the SWAC in rushing yardage with 974 yards and 5.3 yards per carry. He has scored 12 touchdowns and threatens several school rushing records.
Delta State wide receiver Ricky Hunt leads the Gulf South Conference in receiving with 57 catches for 646 yards and also leads the league in all-purpose yardage.
Running back Mike Bathelemy, a junior, is enjoying a banner for year for undefeated, untied Millsaps College. Barthelemy has rushed for a league leading 1,182 yards, and has scored 19 touchdowns, which ranks third in all of Division III. Barthelemy is joined on the Conerly watch list by junior defensive end Zach Bell, who leads the conference with 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for losses. He ranks sixth in the nation in sacks.
Matt Hall, a 6 foot, 9-inch, 325 pound offensive tackle, appears to be Belhaven University’s top C Spire Conerly candidate. Hall, a transfer from Ole Miss, has had pro scouts stopping by Belhaven practices on a regular basis. He is joined by linebacker Darius Wren, who leads the Blazers with 69 tackles, including 10.5 for losses.
Mississippi College has been led by linebacker Jake Weddle who leads the American Southwest Conference with 97 total tackles, including nine for losses. Choctaw quarterback Jonathan Redd has accounted for 20 touchdowns, 11 passing and nine running.
A pair of Glendale (Cal.) Community College transfers have been bright spots for Mississippi Valley State this season. Cornerback Avery Boykin ranks sixth nationally in intereceptions with five and defensive end Sean Fugate leads the teams in sacks with three and tackles for loss with 11.
Each school will select a most outstanding player to participate in the C Spire Conerly Trophy Banquet on Dec. 3 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.