JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA/MSHOF) - The athletic departments of each of the four-year college football programs have selected the nominees for the 2012 C Spire Conerly Trophy, which has been awarded annually to the state’s top college football player since 1996.
The nominees and their head coaches are expected Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for the 17th Annual Conerly Trophy Presentation. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. with the banquet immediately following at 6:30 p.m.
Austin Davis (Southern Miss) won the award in 2011.
Listed alphabetically by school, the 2012 nominees are:
ALCORN STATE: Cornelius Brown, offensive Lineman. Says Coach Jay Hopson, “He’s an unselfish hard-working leader who was the anchor of our offensive line.”
BELHAVEN: Isiah Wiley, a senior cornerback and kick returner from Monroe, La., who transferred for his senior season from Southern Cal, where he started six times as a junior. Wiley led the nation (NAIA) in punt returns with 19.4 yards per return. He was fifth in kickoff returns with 28.6. Returned two punts for touchdowns and also intercepted two passes.
DELTA STATE: Kendall Hunter, an offensive tackle from Mound Bayou, made 38 consecutive starts at right tackle and had a career offensive line grade of 89 percent. Allowed only one sack this season and led DSU in knockdown blocks with 129.
JACKSON STATE: Rico Richardson, a wide receiver, became the fifth receiver in Jackson State's rich history to surpass 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Heading into season finale, Richardson has 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns on 52 catches.
MILLSAPS: Garrett Pinciotti: Millsaps senior quarterback led team to 7-3 record. Threw for 24 touchdowns vs. only four interceptions. Led the conference in passing yards per game with 273.
MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE: Keith Villafranco: Mississippi College senior defensive back from Kenner, La, who led NCAA Division III with six forced fumbles. Also was in on 76 tackles, nine for losses. He intercepted five passes, broke up 11, intercepted five passes and recovered a fumble.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Johnthan Banks: Mississippi cornerback, a preseason All-American who is a finalist for several national awards. Ranks first among active NCAA players in career interception yardage.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE: Robert Simpson: A junior defensive tackle for Mississippi Valley State, leads the NCAA FCS Division with 20.5 tackles for loss. He has 53 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the season.
OLE MISS: Bo Wallace, Ole Miss junior quarterback, has thrown for 12 touchdowns and run for six. Wallace has completed 183 of 279 passes for 2,239 yards. He has completed 65.6 percent of his passes. He threw for a career-high 404 yards against Vanderbilt.
SOUTHERN MISS: Jamie Collins: Leads USM with 80 tackles, 18 for loss, nine sacks and four forced fumbles. The nine sacks total 77 yards in losses. He leads Conference USA in sacks and tackles for losses.