Deonta McMahon named Southland’s offensive player of year

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McNeese’s Deonta McMahon #20

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese running back Deonta McMahon, the Southland Conference rushing and all-purpose yards champion, has been named the 2022 Southland Conference Offensive Player of the year, the league announced on Wednesday in conjunction with the release of the 2022 All-SLC football teams where McNeese landed eighth selections on the two teams.

In addition, McMahon was named to the first team as a running back and second team kick returner. Offensive lineman Calvin Barkat earned first team All-SLC honors as did linebacker Kordell Williams, defensive lineman Masry Mapieu and place kicker Garrison Smith.

Cowboys who earned second team honors along with McMahon as kick returner were offensive lineman Caron Coleman and defensive back Tyler Barnes.

For the season, McMahon, who on Tuesday was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in the FCS, rushed for 1,408 yards on the season for a 128.0 per game average which ranked him 5th in the FCS. His 7.4 yards per carry average ranked fourth in the nation and No. 1 in the conference. He became the first Cowboy to win the league rushing title since 2008 (Toddrick Pendland) and first to win the all-purpose title since 2013 (Diontae Spencer).

He’s the sixth McNeese selection to be named the league’s offensive player of the year in school history and first since Cody Stroud in 2013.

The senior from Frostproof, Florida rushed for 100 yards or more seven times on the season including three straight games to end the season where he ran for 211, 197 and a career-high 239 during that span for an average of 216 per game.

He led the conference and ranked 20th in the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns, and with 14 total touchdowns scored, ranked No. 1 in the SLC and 14th nationally. In addition, the ranked second in the FCS (1st in SLC) with 171.8 all-purpose yards per game.

McMahon rushed for a career-high 239 yards in a season final win over Lamar for his second 200-yard rushing game on the season, both coming in the final three games. He was the only player in the league to achieve that mark multiple games. On special teams, McMahon averaged 20.9 yards per kick return.

Barkat, a native of Sachse, Texas, was a preseason all-conference selection and played a major role in the success of McMahon and the Cowboys’ running game which led the conference with 200.5 yards per game. He started in all 11 games on the season and ended his career making 29 consecutive starts.

Williams, a nominee for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS, led the Cowboys and ranked second in the conference with 108 total tackles and a 10.8 tackles per game average. The Carencro native ranked seventh in the league with nine tackles for a loss while adding 2.5 sacks, a pass break-up and three quarterback hurries. He recorded 10 or more tackles six times on the season with a high of 15 stops against Alcorn State and Southeastern.

Mapieu appeared in all 11 games and recorded 27 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. A York, Nebraska native had his best game at Nicholls when he recorded a season-high five tackles coming off the bench.

In his first season with the Cowboys, the freshman Smith connected on 10 of 11 field goals and was a perfect 25 for 25 on his extra-point kicks. The Norwalk, Ohio native kicked a long field goal of 47 yards, the eighth-longest in school history. His 10 made field goals ranked second in the conference while his 84 points scored on the year also ranked second, tying him with teammate McMahon. Smith also kicked off 44 times with 27 of those going for touchbacks.

Coleman, a St. Louis native, was an all-conference offensive lineman in 2021 and was a preseason selection this season. He missed the first five games due to concussion protocol but returned to start the final six, helping the Cowboys win the league rushing title with 200.5 yards per game as well as running back Deonta McMahon capturing the individual rushing title.

In his first year and only season as a Cowboy, Barnes led the Cowboys while tying for second in the conference with three pass interceptions. He recorded 52 tackles on the season with four tackles for a loss, two of those coming against Alcorn State. The D’Iberville, Mississippi native finished eighth in the league with seven pass break-ups and was ranked seventh with 10 total passes defended. He also forced two fumbles on the year.

2022 Southland Conference Football Individual Superlative Winners
Player of the Year: Lindsey Scott, UIW
Offensive Player of the Year: Deonta McMahon, McNeese
Defensive Player of the Year: Kelechi Anyalebechi, UIW
Newcomer of the Year: Zach Patterson, Northwestern State
Freshman of the Year: Eli Ennis, Nicholls
Offensive Lineman of the Year: John Allen, Southeastern
Coach of the Year: Frank Scelfo, Southeastern

First Team Offense
Pos. | Name | School | Cl. | Hometown
QB | Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW | Gr. | Zachary, La.
RB | Deonta McMahon | McNeese | Sr. | Frostproof, Fla.
RB | Julien Gums | Nicholls | Sr. | New Orleans, La.
TE/HB | Travon Jones | Northwestern State | Fr. | Miami, Fla.
WR | Andrew Armstrong | Texas A&M-Commerce | So. | Dallas, Texas
WR | Taylor Grimes | UIW | Sr. | Godley, Texas
WR | Darion Chafin | UIW | Gr. | Wichita Falls, Texas
OL | John Allen | Southeastern | Jr. | Jackson, Miss.
OL | Caleb Johnson | UIW | Gr. | Mount Pleasant, Texas
OL | Evan Roussel | Nicholls | So. | Lutcher, La.
OL | Reid Francis | UIW | Sr. | College Station, Texas
OL | Calvin Barkat | McNeese | Sr. | Sachse, Texas
P | Austin Dunlap | Southeastern | Jr. | Slidell, La.
PK | Garrison Smith | McNeese | Fr. | Norwalk, Ohio

First Team Defense
DL | Chris Whitaker | UIW | Gr. | Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
DL | Steven Parker | UIW | Sr. | Dallas, Texas
DL | Celestin Haba | Texas A&M-Commerce | Sr. | Columbia, S.C.
DL | Masry Mapieu | McNeese | Sr. | York, Neb.
LB | Kelechi Anyalebechi | UIW | Gr. | Pearland, Texas
LB | Kordell Williams | McNeese | Sr. | Carencro, La.
LB | Rodney Dansby | HCU | So. | Houston, Texas
DB | Jack Henderson | Southeastern | So. | Mandeville, La.
DB | Zy Alexander | Southeastern | So. | Loreauville, La.
DB | Ferlando Jordan | Southeastern | Sr. | Atlanta, Ga.
DB | Donte Thompson | UIW | Jr. | Pensacola, Fla.
DB | D’Ante Smith | Texas A&M-Commerce | Sr. | Richardson, Texas
KR | Gage Larvadain | Southeastern | So. | Donaldsonville, La.
PR | BJ Busbee | Texas A&M-Commerce | Sr. | Long Beach, Calif.

Second Team Offense
QB | Zachary Clement | Northwestern State | So. | Broussard, La.
RB | Carlos Washington Jr. | Southeastern | Sr. | Clinton, Md.
RB | Marcus Cooper | UIW | Gr. | Altair, Texas
TE/HB | Ivan Drobocky | Southeastern | So. | Bowling Green, Ky.
WR | Gage Larvadain | Southeastern | So. | Donaldsonville, La.
WR | Javon Antonio | Northwestern State | Jr. | LaPlace, La.
WR | Zach Patterson | Northwestern State | Jr. | Corinth, Miss.
OL | Dom Serapiglia III | Southeastern | So. | Jefferson Hills, Pa.
OL | Jhy Orgeron | Southeastern | So. | Galliano, La.
OL | Jimeto Obigbo | UIW | So. | Arlington, Texas
OL | Nash Jones | UIW | Jr. | Nacogdoches, Texas
OL | Caron Coleman | McNeese | Sr. | St. Louis, Mo.
PK | Riley Callaghan | Southeastern | Fr. | Ashburn, Va.
P | Brady Buell | HCU | Sr. | Traverse City, Mich.

Second Team Defense
DL | Arlen Williams | Southeastern | Jr. | Boothville, La.
DL | Perry Ganci | Nicholls | Jr. | New Orleans, La.
DL | Jomard Valsin Jr. | Northwestern State | Sr. | Port Arthur, Texas
DL | Jalyx Hunt | HCU | Jr. | DeBary, Fla.
LB | Donte’ Daniels | Southeastern | So. | Slidell, La.
LB | Tyler Jackson | Lamar | Jr. | DeSoto, Texas
LB | Dee Walker | Texas A&M-Commerce | Sr. | Moultrie, Ga.
DB | Jordan Jackson | Nicholls | Jr. | Prairieville, La.
DB | PJ Herrington | Northwestern State | Sr. | Natchez, Miss.
DB | William Hooper | Northwestern State | Sr. | Montgomery, Ala.
DB | Kaleb Culp | UIW | Jr. | Dallas, Texas
DB | Tyler Barnes | McNeese | Sr. | D’Iberville, Miss.
KR | Deonta McMahon | McNeese | Sr. | Frostproof, Fla.
PR | PJ Herrington | Northwestern State | Sr. | Natchez, Miss.

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