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2019 Southern Conference Superlatives: ETSU

By Matthew Golden
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With the 2019 season behind us, we take a step back to reflect on the individual superlatives for each team within the Southern Conference.

Offensive MVP: Quay Holmes, RB, Sophomore

A year removed from being named SoCon Freshman of the Year, Holmes did what most great players do and elevated his performance during his sophomore campaign. The all-around athlete draws comparisons to a swiss army knife, being able to gash defenses and special teams in several ways. Holmes led the SoCon in all- purpose yards this season, ranking as the third leading rusher and kick returner.  Holmes joins Christian McCafferty and Antonio Andrews as the only players to rush for at least 1,100 yards while having 600 kick return yards in a single season since 2015. While only compiling 134 yards receiving on the season, the speedy threat outgained the next closest member of the conference by 508 total yards. As Holmes transitions into a junior, I’d expect continued individual success, and for the ETSU program to begin moving in a winning direction.

Defensive MVP: Nasir Player, DL, Senior

Dubbed the preseason SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, Player would add a mighty productive season to his already loaded resume. For the third consecutive year, the Buc’s dominant defensive lineman would collect All SoCon First Team honors. His 10 tackles for loss would lead the ETSU defense and rank eighth among the conference. With four sacks on the season, Player’s career total is up to eighteen. While the depature of Player will surely be felt, his legacy with the Buc's will be on to remember. 

Intriguing returner: Trey Mitchell, QB, R-Sophomore

With a year’s worth of experience under his belt, Mitchell could develop into one of the conference’s top quarterbacks. After transferring from Coahoma Community College, Mitchell would have to wait a season before appearing in any contest. ETSU’s signal caller would finish with the fifth most passing yards in the conference, having nearly 500 more then SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, Joe Newman. Mitchell would total eleven passing touchdowns on the season, impressively throwing for at least one score in seven consecutive games. If the Buccaneers talented passer can continue to develop, and limit the turnovers, the ETSU passing offense could be on the rise during 2020.

Hardest departure: Artevius Smith, DB, Senior

The ball hawking safety’s senior season was one for the record books, capturing three All-American honors for the first time in his career: AP FCS All-American Second Team, STATS FCS All-American Second Team and the Phil Steele All-American Third Team. During his two years with the Bucs, Smith started 19 games, totaling seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, four pass break ups, 119 tackles. The senior was named a finalist for the Buc Buchanan Award (Most Outstanding Defender), and named to the All Southern Conference First Team after seasons end. Smith’s five interceptions would lead the conference, adding to him being the Buc’s leading tackler. Losing a player who can defend the pass exceptionally and contribute in the run game is never ideal, Smith’s presence will surely be missed in 2020.