A winning inaugural season record did not go unnoticed by Big South Conference head coaches and media as three Kennesaw State players were named to the all-conference team and another individual earned all-academic recognition following Tuesday’s release of the annual postseason honors.
Redshirt freshman defensive back Taylor Henkle was named first team All-Big South Conference, while junior safety Derrick Farrow and junior offensive lineman Malik Letatau were tabbed second team selections. Additionally, redshirt senior wide receiver Prentice Stone was named to the all-academic team as voted on by the conference’s athletics communications representatives.
“For a first-year program to have four guys earn all-conference is pretty impressive and says a lot about our program and a lot about each of these guys,” head coach Brian Bohannon said. “I couldn’t be more excited and proud of each one of these guys as they are deserving of all-conference recognition. It says a lot about our program and what is to come for Kennesaw State football.”
Henkle was named to the first team after leading the Owls and finishing fourth among Big South Conference defensive backs with 65 tackles. He also tied for the conference lead and 18th in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with four interceptions. The Marietta, Ga. native either led Kennesaw State or tied for the team lead in tackles three teams, including twice totaling 10 tackles.
A two-time Big South Conference Freshman of the Week, and FCS STATS National Freshman of the Week, Henkle recorded three of his four interceptions in a two-game span, recording a late-game interception that sealed a 23-13 Big South Conference win over Monmouth (Oct. 31) and intercepting two passes versus eventual conference champion Charleston Southern (Nov. 7).
“Since Day 1 when he arrived on campus, Taylor has been where he is supposed to be and done what he is supposed to do,” Bohannon said. “Taylor exemplifies what a Kennesaw State football player is supposed to be and he is deserving of whatever awards he has received and any that he will receive in the future.”
Farrow, Henkle’s backfield mate, also was a force in the Owls’ secondary, finishing second on the team with 63 tackles while leading the Big South Conference and tying for ninth in the FCS with four forced fumbles, including three in one game.
The Cochran, Ga. native and junior college transfer’s signature game came in Kennesaw State’s home opener versus Edward Waters when, on consecutive plays, he forced a fumble and on the next play sprinted from the far side of the field to catch an Edward Waters running back after a 73-yard run and jarred him of the ball that was recovered by Raymone Jennings at the Kennesaw State 3-yard line.
The performance earned Farrow Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors and eventually onto the 2015 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS Defensive Awards Watch List.
“Derrick is an unbelievable leader, role model, and a heck of a football player,” Bohannon said. “I am very excited and proud of Derrick for being honored as an all-conference player.”
Letatau, who joined the Owls’ program from the College of San Mateo in California, immediately was inserted as a starter along the offensive line and anchored the line from the center position. He played in nine games and helped pave the way for a Kennesaw State offense that averaged 429.8 yards a contest to rank 27th in the FCS and fifth in rushing with 293.0 yards a game.
“Malick is another unbelievable leader, role model, and a heck of football player,” Bohannon said. “I am excited and proud that he is an all-conference player in his first year after transferring in from a junior college.”
Stone joined the program as a walk-on and became a starter at wide receiver, playing in all 11 games and catching nine passes for 116 yards. He also handled the majority of the kickoff return duties, returning 24 kicks for 526 yards, an average of 21.9 yards per return. Stone currently has a 3.75 grade-point average while majoring in exercise science.
“Earning all-academic honors is one of the better awards to receive,” Bohannon said. “PJ has been to three different schools and became a starter for us. To have close to a 4.0 grade-point average is a testament to the type of person PJ is and I am proud of what he has accomplished and what he will accomplish the rest of his life.”
Coastal Carolina running back De’Angelo Henderson (Summerville, S.C.) and Liberty defensive end Chima Uzowihe (Houston, Texas) have been voted the 2015 Big South Football Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, by the conference’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced today by the league office. Charleston Southern linebacker Solomon Brown (Central, S.C.) was tabbed Freshman of the Year, Coastal Carolina’s Devin Brown (Charleston, S.C..) was voted Special Teams Player of the Year, while Charleston Southern’s Jamey Chadwell earned Coach of the Year honors. In addition, the Big South’s sports information directors voted Coastal Carolina quarterback Alex Ross (Alpharetta, Ga.) as the football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Henderson was the runaway selection as the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Year and is the third consecutive Chanticleer to win the conference’s top offensive honor. A finalist for the STATS National FCS Offensive Player of the Year award, Henderson finished the regular-season as the Big South’s leading rusher with 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns, and was the only player to average more than 100 rushing yards a game at 113.2. He posted a conference-best seven 100-yard rushing games, including five consecutive, and his 6.1 yards per carry also led the league and ranks 16th in the nation. Henderson is sixth in FCS in rushing touchdowns, eighth in rushing yards and eighth in rushing yards per game. The all-time FCS record holder for consecutive games with a touchdown at 25 (current), Henderson again paced the Big South in scoring with his 17 total scores and 102 points, as well as a league-high five multi-touchdown efforts. He is just the third player with two 15-touchown seasons and his 9.3 points per game average is seventh in the country. Henderson is the only running back among the Big South’s top 10 receivers, as his 37 catches are tied for fifth among the league leaders. He became the first running back in conference history with 100 yards receiving with 129 in Week 1 at Furman. The two-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week led the conference with 611 rushing yards and eight scores in Big South games.
Henderson received 16 of the 21 first-place votes cast and 37 total points to finish ahead of runner-up Josh Woodrum (Liberty), who received four first-place votes and 16 total points.
Uzowihe is the first Liberty player to be voted the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, and is the first defensive lineman to win the award since Gardner-Webb’s Brian Johnston in 2007. A finalist for the STATS National FCS Defensive Player of the Year award, Uzowihe leads the Big South in both tackles-for-loss with a career-high 17.0 and sacks with 8.0, just the fifth player in league history to lead the conference in both categories. Uzowihe is just the second player to lead the Big South in TFL in back-to-back years, and he ranks among the national leaders in sacks per game (18th) and tackles-for-loss (17th). The Big South’s all-time sacks leader with 25 is the first player in league history with two seasons with at least eight sacks. Uzowihe recorded a TFL in 10 of 11 games this season, including five with at least two. He tallied 34 solo tackles among his 52 total stops — both career highs, in addition to four pass break-ups, six quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. In six conference games, Uzowihe posted a league-best 10.5 TFL (1.75 per game) as well as 36 stops (22 solo).
Uzowihe received six first-place votes and 26 points, edging Presbyterian’s Ed Britt (three first-place votes and 25 points), Charleston Southern’sAnthony Ellis (four first-place votes and 22 points) and Gardner-Webb’s O.J. Mau (three first-place votes and 22 points).
Solomon Brown is the first linebacker to win Freshman of the Year honors since 2011, and is the second Buccaneer to be honored as the top freshman in three seasons, and third time overall. The redshirt freshman is tied for second in the Big South with 6.0 sacks — just one away from tying the league’s single-season freshman record. He added 11.0 tackles-for-loss to tie for seventh among the conference leaders. A three-time Big South Freshman of the Week honoree as well as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 19, Brown finished the regular-season with 50 tackles (27 solo), one interception — a 28-yard pick-six at Gardner-Webb — plus one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass break-up. A finalist for the STATS National FCS Freshman of the Year award, he posted a TFL in seven of 11 appearances, including five with at least one, and had two games with two sacks. In Big South games, Brown tied for third with 3.0 sacks and fourth with 7.0 TFL.
Brown received nine first-place votes and 22 points, ahead of Kennesaw State safety Taylor Henkle (seven first-place votes and 19 points) and Monmouth quarterback Cody Williams (two first-place votes and 14 points).
Devin Brown earns the Big South’s Special Teams Player of the Year award after leading the league in kickoff return average at 30.4, good for third in the nation. A two-time Special Teams Player of the Week honoree, Brown returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score at Furman in Week 1 — tied for the longest kickoff return in Big South history, and two weeks later had a 93-yard TD return in a win over Western Illinois. His 39.0 average on five kickoff returns against the Leathernecks earned him STATS National Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Sept. 21, and it was his third kickoff return touchdown in a four-game span dating back to 2014. After his two kick return TDs, opposing teams kicked away from him and he had zero return opportunities five times. The only player in league history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a season twice, Brown became the Big South’s all-time record holder with five career kickoff return TDs during the year.
Brown received 12 first place votes and 24 points, finishing ahead of Charleston Southern return specialist Darius Hammond (nine first-place votes and 18 points).
Chadwell earns his second Big South Coach of the Year honor in three seasons as he directed Charleston Southern to a 9-2 record and its first outright Big South championship in 2015, as well as the program’s first-ever FCS playoff berth. A finalist for the STATS National FCS Coach of the Year award, Chadwell led the Buccaneers to just the second 6-0 record in Big South games, as well as a Top 8 seed and first round bye in the postseason. CSU finished 8-0 against FCS opponents in 2015, which included a second-half comeback victory at The Citadel in which the Bucs rallied from a 17-6 deficit to win 33-20 in Week 4. CSU also knocked off then-No. 1 Coastal Carolina, 33-28, and moved inside the Top 10 in the national rankings the week of Nov. 9. The team’s current No. 7 ranking is the highest in program history. Offensively, the Buccaneers are first in the conference in time of possession (34:00) and second in rushing offense (217.0), in addition to having seven 30-point games and a 19.6 average margin of victory. Charleston Southern is currently second in the nation in total defense at 266.5 yards allowed. Against FCS opponents this season, Chadwell’s group held its eight foes to 13.0 points — including an average of just 5.6 in the second half, and 235.9 yards of offense. The Bucs’ undefeated run in conference games featured a defense that permitted just 228.2 yards and 12.8 points. In 2015, Charleston Southern became the first Big South program to hold three consecutive opponents to less than 150 yards of offense, tied the Big South record for most consecutive games allowing less than 10 points (three), and held seven opponents to less than 300 offensive yards — including a Big South-record tying five straight contests.
Chadwell was a near unanimous choice as he received 18 of 21 first-place votes and 38 total points, ahead of Kennesaw State head coach Brian Bohannon (two first-place votes and 18 points).
Ross, who is Coastal Carolina’s first football Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient since 2011 and third overall, is a 4.00 MBA student. He graduated with a 3.57 in management and will complete his master’s next month. A CoSIDA Academic All-District IV selection and candidate for Academic All-America, Ross is the first player to be voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year after earning one of the league’s Offensive/Defensive Player of the Year honors, as he was the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year. He finished the 2015 regular-season with 2,764 yards of offense, was 210-of-315 passing for 2,594 yards and league-high 18 touchdowns. Ross is also the Big South’s all-time leader in total offense with 11,028 yards, and second in touchdowns responsible for (88).
The Big South also announced its All-Conference first and second teams. The squads are comprised of 12 offensive and defensive players and five special teams players, plus any ties. Coastal Carolina led the way with 14 total selections, just ahead of Charleston Southern (13). Liberty had 11 selections, followed by Monmouth (7), Gardner-Webb (5), Presbyterian College (5) and Kennesaw State (3). The Chanticleers posted a league-high with eight First-Team honorees.
Henderson, Uzowihe, Solomon and Devin Brown, and Ross each earned a spot on the All-Conference First-Team. The list of 2015 All-Conference members and award winners, as well as the All-Academic Team, appears below.
2015 BIG SOUTH FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS AND ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS