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2019 Southern Conference Superlatives: The Citadel

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: Brandon Rainey, QB, Junior

Rainey surely proved to be one of the conference’s top dual threats, finishing within the top seven in rushing and passing yards per game. The Acworth, Georgia native tallied 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, only placing behind VMI offensive stalwart Alex Ramsey. The do it all quarterback led the Citadel to a fourth-place finish in the Southern Conference, as the team had FCS playoff hopes alive entering the final couple weeks of the season. Rainey’s ground game production was top notch this season, but his play through the air went quietly under the radar. With only four interceptions on the season and adding thirteen touchdowns through the air, Rainey finished his junior campaign with thirty total touchdowns, and was rated as  the conference’s most efficient passer.

Defensive MVP: Willie Eubanks III, LB, Junior

On the defensive side of the ball, not many came close to doing what Willie Eubanks did this season. The linebacker from Augusta, Georgia was named 2019 Defensive Player of the Year in the Southern Conference by the league’s coaches and media. Eubanks III led the Bulldog’s with 112 tackles on the season, the most from any member of the Citadel since the turn of the century. All over the stat sheet, Eubanks III finished second in the conference in tackles, third in tackles for loss, and finished within the top 10 in sacks with four and a half on the season. Besides playing a huge factor in slowing down the opponents run game, the junior linebacker showed the ability to get to the quarterback effectively. Eubanks’ forced a number of turnovers on the season, including three forced fumbles and an interception against Charleston Southern.

Intriguing returner: Clay Harris, RB (B-Back), Sophomore

A bit under the radar, Clay Harris had an impressive sophomore season, providing the Bulldog’s with a reliable returning back to join Rainey in the backfield next season. Out of Atlanta, Georgia, Harris appeared in all eleven games of his freshman campaign, nearing 100 carries during his 2018 season. The Bulldog’s “B-Back” would produce at a higher clip this year, totaling just under 180 carries for 699 yards, good for eighth place in the Southern Conference.

Hardest departure: Joseph Randolph II, DL, Senior 

Joseph Randolph II, an anchor from the Citadel’s defensive line, was named to the All Southern Conference Team following seasons end. The senior’s five sacks finished fifth among the conference, two short of the league leader. Appearing in at least nine games since stepping foot in Charleston, the experienced leader’s departure will leave a void within the Bulldog’s front seven. With Eubank’s transitioning into a senior, Randolph must feel like the defense will still be left in good hands. I would expect rising junior Dalton Owens to step up and fill most of the void left behind by Randolph.