USA South Football: Carter repeats as Defensive Player of the Year; Panthers sweep newcomer awards

USA South Football: Carter repeats as Defensive Player of the Year; Panthers sweep newcomer awards

Senior linebacker Andre Carter headed a list of 10 LaGrange players named to the USA South All-Conference football teams announced by the conference Wednesday.

Carter was named for the second straight year as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. He is the first player to win the award back-to-back since Darren Venable of Ferrum received the award three straight years from 2002-04.

The Panthers swept the conference's newcomer awards. Receiver Marsalis Jackson was selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year, while linebacker Jordan Chambers received the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. LaGrange is the first school to sweep the rookie awards since North Carolina Wesleyan did it in 2010.

Carter and Chambers were on the first team along with junior punter Will Jeffcoat. Jackson was joined on the second team by record-setting junior quarterback Graham Craig, senior offensive tackle Matt James, junior offensive tackle Stephen Stinchcomb, sophomore defensive tackle Justin McIntyre, junior defensive back Scott Chewning and freshman defensive back Brandon Penn.

Carter rewrote the LaGrange record book as a linebacker during his career. He holds school records for total tackles (292), unassisted tackles (181), assisted tackles (111), tackles for loss (47.5) and yards for loss (174).

This season, Carter had 106 total tackles and led the team and the USA South with 18 tackles for a loss. He had 71 unassisted tackles, two interceptions, five pass breakups and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He was the first Panther to have over 100 total tackles in a season.

Jackson, playing his first season of collegiate football, set school records with 902 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions. He had 47 receptions for the season, averaging 19.2 yards a catch. Jackson led the team in scoring and was named by the conference Offensive Rookie of the Week three times during the season.

 Despite missing the first game of the season, Chambers finished second on the team to Carter with 81 total tackles, including 64 unassisted. He tied for the team lead with 4.5 quarterback sacks and was third with 13 tackles for loss. Chambers was twice named the conference Defensive Rookie of the Week during the season.

Jeffcoat led the conference in punting, averaging 39.9 yards per kick. This is the second straight year he has been on the first team, last year as the kicker.

Craig broke numerous school and conference records during the season. He passed for 3,576 yards and 32 touchdowns. Craig also leads NCAA Division III in passing yards as the national playoffs begin.

James and Stinchcomb repeat on the all-conference team from last season. Chewning was third on the team with 65 total tackles. Penn led the conference in interceptions with a school-record four, while recording 35 total tackles and a team-best six pass breakups.