Ailym Ford Leads UTC SoCon Honors Being Named League’s Freshman of the Year

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(gomocs.com) The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team had 11 student-athletes honored on the various All-Southern Conference Teams announced by the league office today.  The Mocs were well represented on the Coaches, Media and Freshmen squads, led by consensus SoCon Freshman of the Year Ailym Ford.

Ford is the fifth Moc to earn the SoCon Freshman of the Year honor, joining Stan Nix (1987), James Roberts (1989), Kadeem Wise (2010) and Terrell Robinson (2011).  He led all freshmen at the FCS level with 108.1 rushing yards per game and tied for the team lead with nine rushing touchdowns.

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“I am really excited about these guys getting this opportunity,” stated UTC head coach Rusty Wright.  “I think all of them are deserving.  I hope we will get to the point where there is more, but I think Ailym had the best year in the league out of anybody, offensively.  He is a phenomenal young man.  The best thing about him being Freshman of the Year is he four As and a B right now going into the finals. The proves what he does on and off the field is the same and he is very deserving.”

Ford’s historic run ended with an injury at Samford, but not before he posted 1,081 rushing yards. That was just nine shy of the UTC freshman mark set by Mike Smith in 1977.  It was also the seventh highest total by a freshman in the SoCon record books.

Ford made the SoCon Coaches First Team, along with junior receiver Bryce Nunnelly, junior defensive back Brandon Dowdell and sophomore defensive lineman Devonnsha Maxwell.

The Coaches second team included junior offensive lineman Cole Strange, senior defensive linemen Khayyan Edwards and Telvin Jones and senior linebacker Marshall Cooper.  The league’s coaches also selected an all-freshman team that included Ford and defensive back Kameron Brown.

UTC put a league-leading nine on the SoCon Sports Media Association team.  The first team was highlighted by Nunnelly, Maxwell and Dowdell, along with Marshall Cooper and senior tight end Chris James.  Ford made the media’s second team and was joined by Strange, Edwards and sophomore linebacker Ty Boeck.

Nunnelly makes his second appearance on the All-SoCon first team.  He led UTC and was third in the SoCon with 66.2 receiving yards per game.  He was also fourth in the league with 4.8 receptions per game and moved into fourth place on the Mocs all-time list with 2,120 career receiving yards.

Dowdell also made the All-SoCon first team for the second year in a row.  He finished with 45 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defended.  Maxwell posted two sacks in the season finale at VMI to climb into a tie for the league lead with 7.0.  He was second in the SoCon with 13.0 TFLs, while adding 46 tackles.

James converted from quarterback to tight end at the start of camp and led the Mocs with seven touchdown receptions.  He was second on the team with 23 receptions and third with 257 receiving yards.  He was recently granted a sixth-year by the NCAA and will return to the team next season.

Cooper is now a two-time All-SoCon honoree, having made the Coaches and Media second teams last season.  This year, he led the Mocs with 106 tackles, the most at UTC since All-American Nakevion Leslie had 106 in 2016.

The big head scratcher was Strange not making either first team.  He started every game on the Mocs offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks on the year.  That number was second in the SoCon and No. 15 in the FCS.  The Mocs also averaged 235.9 rushing yards per game in SoCon-only contests and were No. 24 in the FCS with 197.7 rushing yards per game for the 12-game schedule.

Strange started the first 11 games at right guard, but had to move over to center for the last six quarters of the season due to an injury.  This was his second All-SoCon recognition, after making the second team coaches last year.

Edwards was third on the team with 48 tackles, 6.0 TFLs and 2.5 sacks.  Jones had 37 tackles and was second for the Mocs with 6.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks.  Brown played all 12 games and made two starts at cornerback.  He also had two interceptions to go along with 14 tackles.

UTC is taking season ticket deposits for the 2020 season.  Click here for more information and to secure your tickets for next year’s campaign.

Southern Conference Coaches
2019 All-Southern Conference Football Teams

Offensive Player of the Year
Joe Newman, Sr., QB, Wofford

Defensive Player of the Year
Willie Eubanks III, Jr., LB, The Citadel

Freshman of the Year
Ailym Ford, RB, Chattanooga

Jacob Blocking Award
Blake Jeresaty, Jr., OL, Wofford

Coach of the Year
Scott Wachenheim, VMI

First team offense
QB          Joe Newman, Wofford
RB           Ailym Ford, Chattanooga
RB           Alex Ramsey, VMI
OL           Ben Blackmon, ETSU
OL           Bo Layton, Furman
OL           Nick Nixon, Samford
OL           Justus Basinger, Wofford
OL           Blake Jeresaty, Wofford
TE           Nate Adkins, ETSU
WR         Raleigh Webb, The Citadel
WR         Bryce Nunnelly, Chattanooga
WR         Jakob Herres, VMI

First team defense
DL           Joseph Randolph II, The Citadel
DL           Nasir Player, ETSU
DL           Adrian Hope, Furman
DL           Devonnsha Maxwell, Chattanooga
LB           Willie Eubanks III, The Citadel
LB           John Staton, Samford
LB           Jireh Wilson, Wofford
DB          Artevius Smith, ETSU
DB          Bryan Okeh, Furman
DB          Brandon Dowdell, Chattanooga
DB          A.J. Smith, VMI

First team special teams
PK           Grayson Atkins, Furman
P             Matt Campbell, The Citadel
RS           David Durden, Mercer

Second team offense
QB          Reece Udinski, VMI
RB           Quay Holmes, ETSU
RB           Devin Wynn, Furman
OL           Drew McEntyre, The Citadel
OL           Tre’mond Shorts, ETSU
OL           Jordan Harris, Furman
OL           Austin Sanders, Mercer
OL           Cole Strange, Chattanooga
OL           Michael Ralph, Wofford
TE           Chris Ellington, Mercer
WR         Thomas Gordon, Furman
WR         David Durden, Mercer

Second team defense
DL           Dorian Kithcart, Mercer
DL           Khayyan Edwards, Chattanooga
DL           Telvin Jones, Chattanooga
DL           Michael Mason, Wofford
LB           Jordan Willis, Furman
LB           Sidney Otiwu, Mercer
LB           Marshall Cooper, Chattanooga
DB          Chris Beverly, The Citadel
DB          Eric Jackson, Mercer
DB          John Brannon III, Western Carolina
DB          George Gbesee, Wofford

Second team special teams
PK           Mitchell Fineran, Samford
P             Grayson Atkins, Furman
RS           Montrell Washington, Samford

All-freshman offense
Will Huzzie, ETSU
Devin Abrams, Furman
Wayne Anderson, Furman
Darren Grainger, Furman
Evan Jumper, Furman
Yahsyn McKee, Mercer
Jay Stanton, Samford
A.J. Toney, Samford
Ailym Ford, Chattanooga
Leroy Thomas, VMI
Jacquez Allen, Wofford

All-freshman defense
Hasan Black, The Citadel
Donovan Manuel, ETSU
Josh Agbenou, Furman
Travis Blackshear, Furman
Braden Gilby, Furman
Richie Coffey, Mercer
TriMarcus Cheeks, Samford
Kameron Brown, Chattanooga
Aljareek Malry, VMI
Keyvaun Cobb, Wofford
Michael Mason, Wofford

All-freshman special teams
Tyler Keltner, ETSU
Caleb Dowden, Mercer
Zach Lassiter, Mercer
Julian Pletz, Western Carolina

Southern Conference Sports Media Association (SCSMA)
2019 All-Southern Conference Football Teams

Roy M. “Legs” Hawley Offensive Player of the Year
Joe Newman, Sr., QB, Wofford

Defensive Player of the Year
Willie Eubanks III, Jr., LB, The Citadel

Freshman of the Year
Ailym Ford, RB, Chattanooga

Wallace Wade Coach of the Year
Josh Conklin, Wofford

First team offense
QB          Joe Newman, Wofford
RB           Devin Wynn, Furman
RB           Alex Ramsey, VMI
OL           Drew McEntyre, The Citadel
OL           Bo Layton, Furman
OL           Nick Nixon, Samford
OL           Justus Basinger, Wofford
OL           Michael Ralph, Wofford
TE           Chris James, Chattanooga
WR         Bryce Nunnelly, Chattanooga
WR         Jakob Herres, VMI

First team defense
DL           Joseph Randolph II, The Citadel
DL           Nasir Player, ETSU
DL           Devonnsha Maxwell, Chattanooga
DL           Michael Mason, Wofford
LB           Willie Eubanks III, The Citadel
LB           John Staton, Samford
LB           Marshall Cooper, Chattanooga
LB           Jireh Wilson, Wofford
DB          Artevius Smith, ETSU
DB          Eric Jackson, Mercer
DB          Brandon Dowdell, Chattanooga
DB          A.J. Smith, VMI
DB          JerMichael White, Western Carolina

First team special teams
PK           Grayson Atkins, Furman
P             Matt Campbell, The Citadel
RS           David Durden, Mercer

Second team offense
QB          Reece Udinski, VMI
RB           Ailym Ford, Chattanooga
RB           Quay Holmes, ETSU
OL           Jordan Harris, Furman
OL           Austin Sanders, Mercer
OL           Cole Strange, Chattanooga
OL           Josh Andre, VMI
OL           Blake Jeresaty, Wofford
TE           Chris Ellington, Mercer
WR         Raleigh Webb, The Citadel
WR         Thomas Gordon, Furman

Second team defense
DL           Adrian Hope, Furman
DL           Armond Lloyd, Samford
DL           Khayyan Edwards, Chattanooga
DL           Jarrod Richmond, VMI
LB           Ty Boeck, Chattanooga
LB           Ty Harris, Western Carolina
LB           Jayden Pauling, Western Carolina
DB          Chris Beverly, The Citadel
DB          Bryan Okeh, Furman
DB          John Brannon III, Western Carolina
DB          George Gbesee, Wofford

Second team special teams
PK           Mitchell Fineran, Samford
P             Grayson Atkins, Furman
RS           Montrell Washington, Samford

 

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.