University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive end Davis Tull led the Southern Conference this season in sacks and tackles for loss -- and probably mayhem. In Mocs coach Russ Huesman's words Monday, Tull was "a ball-playin' Jesse."
The colloquialism was meant as high praise.
Tull received some more Tuesday by being named the SoCon defensive player of the year by the league's media and coaches. He shared the coaches' award with Appalachian State linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough.
"You definitely want to come in and create mayhem. That's probably a good way to put it," Tull said.
Tull is the second UTC player in four seasons to earn the award, following defensive end Josh Beard in 2009, and the first sophomore to win it since Appalachian State's Dexter Coakley in 1994.
"I don't think we could have asked for any more from him," Mocs defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said. "He's a team kid, and every time he got a sack you saw him turn and look for his teammates -- all 12 times."
Beard tied a school record in 2009 with 12 sacks, a mark Tull surpassed with 2.5 in UTC's season-ending win over Elon last Saturday. Tull finished with 12.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, another UTC single-season record. He finished second in the Football Championship Subdivision in total sacks and fourth in tackles for loss.
Hypercompetitive on and off the field, Tull said he wanted the records when he knew they were in reach. But earning a postseason award wasn't on his mind.
"It's kind of one of those surreal things that you don't really think about until after it happens," Tull said. "It's a great surprise, if you want to call it a surprise, but at the same time we've put in enough work and to see all that work pay off is kind of cool, too."
The SoCon also released its all-conference teams Tuesday, and Tull and linebacker Wes Dothard, two key pieces of UTC's SoCon-leading defense, were first-team picks by the coaches and media. Safety D.J. Key was a first-team selection by the media and second team by the coaches.
Tight end Faysal Shafaat, defensive tackle Derrick Lott and cornerback Kadeem Wise were second-team picks by the coaches and media. In addition, right tackle Adam Miller made the media's second-team offense.
"Overall it was probably about what I expected and I'm happy for the guys that made it," Huesman said. "I was glad to see Adam Miller made it in his last year."
UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman made the all-freshman team, but the SoCon freshman of the year award -- it was a two-man race in the final half of the season -- went to Appalachian State wide receiver Sean Price.
Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein was named the offensive player of the year for the second straight season by the coaches and media. The media named The Citadel's Kevin Higgins the coach of the year, an award he shared with Samford's Pat Sullivan in the coaches' voting.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...