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2019 Southern Conference Superlatives: Mercer

By Matthew Golden
SouthernPigskin.com
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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:  Tyray Devezin, RB, Junior

Despite battling injury for majority of the season, the Bears’ tailback would solidify himself as one of the top ball carriers in the Southern Conference. Devezin broke the 1000-yard mark in 2019, rushing for 1,002 yards, marking his second consecutive season with over 1000  total yards from scrimmage.  The running back seemed to have a nose for the endzone, scoring thirteen times in just eleven games. Measuring Devezin’s production requires a deeper look and proves outstanding success. The conference’s fourth leading rusher broke 76 tackles on the season, while rushing for nearly 800 yards after contact. A tough, downhill runner, Devezin can be a huge factor providing blows as games get deep into the second half. With rumor of the rusher leaving and entering the transfer portal, we can only hope to continue seeing the production of Devezin in the Southern Conference.

Defensive MVP: Sidney Otiwu, LB, Junior

The resurgence of Otiwu was huge for the Bear’s defense in 2019. Prior to an injury hampered 2018 season, the Mercer linebacker was named to the All SoCon Freshman team following an impressive 2017 campaign. The highlight of Otiwu’s junior season would come in a triple overtime victory over conference foe Samford in which he’s compiled 21 total tackles, shattering the school’s all-time single game mark. The fierce defender would finish just eight tackles shy of 100, placing eighth within the SoCon in total tackles. The Bears look to be trending upwards on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2020, in large part to the consistent play of Otiwu among  the front seven. 

Intriguing Returner: David Durden, WR, Sophomore

Fresh off an FCS Freshman All American worthy 2018 campaign, Durden picked up right where he left off, putting together one of the more impressive seasons at the wide receiver position. The Emanuel County alumni finished second in the conference in all purpose yards, playing a large factor on offense and in special teams. While only competing in nine contests, Durden would finish with the second most kick return yards, and the second most receiving yards per game in the SoCon. The Bears’ new regimen should have no problem utilizing the speedy receiver with him already have shown his versatility with the ball in his hand.

Hardest Departure: Eric Jackson, DB, Senior

Losing the leader of your secondary is never ideal…losing a member of your secondary that has NFL potential hurts even more. Jackson’s career in Macon was exceptional, collecting numerous accolades across the conference and FCS over a span of five years. The Bear’s defensive back would total 90 tackles on the season, showing a drive to get his hands dirty defending the run. In coverage, Jackson would finish 2019 with six pack break ups, stacking up well amongst the conference. At 5’8’’170lbs, the quick twitch defensive back will have to add some size to his frame but has the talent to compete at the next NFL. For the Bears, expect Harrison Poole to take control of the secondary, already making a name for himself in the 2019 season.