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2019 Southern Conference Superlatives: Samford

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: Chris Oladokun, QB, RS-SO

Oladokun, the third-year sophomore, took full advantage of his opportunity to play at Samford. In January of 2019, the Tampa native took to twitter to announce that he was transferring from the University of South Florida and intended to attend Samford and play football for the Bulldogs. After only appearing in six games, starting in two, Oladokun moved on from the USF program and quickly became one of the top quarterbacks in the Southern Conference. The 6’3’’ signal caller made his first start for the Bulldogs against FCS ranked Wofford, in which he finished as the matchup’s leading passer and rusher, carrying his team to an upset victory. Oladokun would join Nick Tiano and Reece Udinski as the only quarterbacks to throw for over 2,000 yards in the 2019 season. With the Bulldog’s having one of the conference’s most limited rushing attacks, Oladokun would pick up the slack, throwing for the second most touchdowns in the conference (18) while also ranking second in passer efficiency rating.

Defensive MVP: John Staton, LB, Junior

Staton’s presence was felt just about everywhere on the field on the defensive side of the ball in 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native impressively lead the Southern Conference in tackles, tallying 116 in just eleven games. SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, Willie Eubanks III, finished four tackles shy of Staton’s mark, having played an additional game as well. The hardnosed member of the Bulldog’s front seven was a key piece in slowing down oppositions run game, being the only defender to average more then ten tackles per outing in the conference. At seasons end, Staton was named to the All Southern Conference First Team, becoming one of two Bulldog’s to be honored on offense and defense.

Intriguing Returner: Montrell Washington, UTIL, Sophomore

Washington’s track star speed and quick twitch ability makes him one of the more dangerous threats in the conference. The elusive athlete was honored on the 2019 STATS FCS All- America First Team as a punt returner, becoming the only player in the SoCon to do so in 2019. The Bulldog’s return man finished his sophomore campaign with 328 punt return yards, adding 155 more on kick returns. Washington’s production didn’t stop at special teams, also making an impact as a receiver and ball carrier. Two years removed from being a Cherokee High School standout, Washington would finish fifth in the SoCon in all-purpose yards, joining the likes of Alex Ramsey and Quay Holmes in the top five.

Special Teams Spotlight:  Mitchell Fineran, K, Sophomore

Sophomore place kicker Mitchell Fineran finished the 2019 season with a team high 91 points, also good for third in the conference. The special teams ace finished nearly perfect on PATs, making 46 of his total 47 attempts. Along with going 15 for 21 on field goals, Fineran would finish the season 3 for 4 on kicks over forty yards. After an impressive 2019 season, the Samford kicker was named a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place Kicker Award, given to the most outstanding kicker at the FCS, DII, and DIII level. It’s safe to say that the Bulldog’s are secure at the kicking position, potentially owning the most talented special teams’ units in the SoCon.