The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had 11 players listed on the All-Southern Conference football teams announced Tuesday, and running back Ailym Ford was voted freshman of the year by both the league coaches and the media.
Ford, who also was named to the coaches' first team and the media's second team, is the fifth Moc honored as SoCon freshman of the year, 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.
"I am really excited about these guys getting this opportunity," Mocs coach Rusty Wright said in a UTC release. "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 has four A's and a B right now going into the finals. That proves what he does on and off the field is the same, and he is very deserving."
UTC wide receiver Bryce Nunnelly was a first-team selection by the coaches and media, as were defensive lineman Devonnsha Maxwell and defensive back Brandon Dowdell. Senior linebacker Marshall Cooper was a first-team selection by the media and a coaches' second-team choice. Tight end Chris James was a media first-team pick.
Lineman Khayyan Edwards was a consensus second-team defensive member, while lineman Cole Strange was a consensus second-team pick on offense. Sophomore linebacker Ty Boeck was a second-team defensive pick by the media, as was lineman Telvin Jones. Defensive back Kameron Brown joined Ford on the all-freshman team.
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 seven. He was second in the SoCon with 13 tackles for loss, 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.
Cooper made the All-SoCon 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.
Strange, who made the coaches' second team in 2018, started every game this year on an offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks. The Mocs also averaged 235.9 rushing yards per game in SoCon-only contests and were 24th in the FCS with 197.7 per game for the 12-game schedule.
Edwards was third on the team with 48 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Jones had 37 tackles and was second for the Mocs with 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Brown played all 12 games and made two starts at cornerback, finishing with two interceptions and 14 tackles.
Wofford senior quarterback Joe Newman was the consensus offensive player of the year, as was The Citadel linebacker Willie Eubanks III on defense. VMI's Scott Wachenheim was voted by his peers as coach of the year, while Wofford's Josh Conklin earned the award from the media.
Newman has thrown for 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns this season while rushing for 880 yards and 13 touchdowns, giving him 1,917 yards of total offense (174.3 per game).
Eubanks, a finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, is The Citadel's second-ever defensive player of the year and the first since 2015. He is second in the league with 112 total tackles, an average of 9.3 per game, and leads the SoCon with 63 solo stops.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22.