Isaiah Chambers named SLC Defensive Player of the Year for second straight season

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Isaiah Chambers

FRISCO, Texas – McNeese defensive end Isaiah Chambers joined an elite group on Tuesday when he became just the eighth player in Southland Conference history to be named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second time.

The graduate student from Houston is one of 13 McNeese players and 14 selections on the 2021 All-Southland Conference Football Team.

Chambers also garnered first team defensive honors for the second consecutive season and was joined on the first team defense by defensive end Mason Kinsey, linebacker Kordell Willliams and safety Andre Sam while offensive lineman Caron Coleman earned first team accolades on the offensive unit.

He’s only the second Cowboy player to be named the league’s top defensive player multiple times (Terry Irving, 1992 and 1993) and give the Cowboys their fourth straight conference top defensive award (B.J. Blunt, 2018; Chris Livings, 2019; Chambers 2020 and 2021) and the 16 selection overall.

Picking up second team honors include running back Deonta McMahon on offense while defensive lineman Accord Green, safety Corione Harris, safety Jarrius Wallace and punt returner Mason Pierce were named to the second team defense.

Running back Stephon Huderson, tight end Jamal Pettigrew, cornerback Colby Richardson and kick returner Pierce picked up honorable mention honors.

Chambers, who was named Monday as a finalist for the Stats Perform FCS Buck Buchanan Award for the second straight season, led the Southland Conference with 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss this past season. It’s the second consecutive year to lead the league in both categories and will end his career by becoming the first player to average a sack a game in school history with 18 quarterback sacks in 18 career games played. He recorded all 10.5 of his sacks on the season in the final eight games of the year.

Williams ended the season with 102 total tackles to become the first Cowboy to top the century mark since B.J. Blunt’s 102 in 2018. The junior from Carencro recorded 10 or more tackles in seven games this season, including a career-high 17 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Sam finished second on the team in tackles behind Williams with 70 total stops. The junior from Iowa led the Cowboys with seven pass break-ups and added an interception.

Kinsey, who played on the opposite side of Chambers, ranked third in the league with 6.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. A junior from Mansfield, Texas, he recorded 41 total tackles, five QB hurries, two break-ups and had an interception. He also scored a touchdown at HBU when he scooped up a fumble at the 1-yard line.

Coleman led the offensive line by grading out at 91 percent for the season in the run game and 98 percent in the passing game. The junior from St. Louis played a season-high 771 snaps, made 15 pancake blocks and had zero penalties against him on the year. He’s the first Cowboy offensive lineman to be named to the first team since the 2015 season (Quinton Marsh).

McMahon led the Cowboys in rushing and ranked fourth in the conference with 558 yards and a 5.1 yards per carry average. The junior from Frostproof, Florida also led the team and ranked eighth in the SLC with eight rushing touchdowns. He came on strong late in the season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 124 yard in a win at HBU.

Green recorded 24 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks on the season. A junior from New Orleans, he missed most of the last three games due to an injury. He stunned fans with a 35-yard run on a fake punt in a win at Northwestern State, displaying his speed and agility.

Wallace led the team and ranked second in the conference with three pass interceptions. The senior from Villa, Louisiana added 43 tackles, two quarterback hurries and a tackle for a loss on the year.

Harris ended the year with 52 total tackles, 31 of those solos, and an interception. A junior from New Orleans, he added three sacks, three tackles for a loss, six pass break-ups and recovered two fumbles, one of those returned 15 yards for a touchdown at Northwestern State.

Pierce was Mr. All-Around for the Cowboys this season. In addition to his receiving skills, he ranked second in the league with 548 total kick return yards and with a 24.9 average per return. He tied a McNeese, SLC and NCAA record with a 100-yard return for a touchdown at Southern. The redshirt freshman from Pearland, Texas averaged 8.9 yards per punt return and ended with 134 total yards with a longest return of 50 yards.

Huderson had his season cut short due to an injury but still finished second on the team with 419 rushing yards while averaging 4.1 yards per carry. The senior from Petal, Mississippi had a season-high 111 yards rushing against Southern. He also scored three rushing TDs on the season.

Pettigrew established himself as one of the top blocking tight ends in the conference and all of FCS. The graduate from New Orleans graded out at 83 percent in the run game and had a total of 26 knockdown blocks. He also caught seven passes for 92 yards with a touchdown.

Richards, a junior from New Orleans, tied for third in the conference with two pass interceptions. He added 22 tackles, a sack, tackle for a loss and forced a fumble on the season.

Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Cole Kelley was named the league’s player of the year while UIW quarterback Cameron Ward earned offensive player of the year accolades.

2021 Southland Conference Football Individual Superlative Winners
Player of the Year: Cole Kelley, Southeastern
Offensive Player of the Year: Cameron Ward, UIW
Defensive Player of the Year: Isaiah Chambers, McNeese
Newcomer of the Year: Taylor Grimes, UIW
Freshman of the Year: Gage Larvadain, Southeastern
Offensive Lineman of the Year: PJ Burkhalter, Nicholls
Coach of the Year: Eric Morris, UIW

2021 All-Southland Conference Teams

First Team Offense
Pos. | Name | School | Class | Hometown
QB | Cole Kelley | Southeastern | Sr. | Lafayette, La.
RB | Kevin Brown | UIW | Gr. | Mount Pleasant, S.C.
RB | Collin Guggenheim | Nicholls | Fr. | Kenner, La.
TE/HB | Nolan Givan | Southeastern | Sr. | Berkley, Mich.
WR | Austin Mitchell | Southeastern | Sr. | Plaquemine, La.
WR | Dai’Jean Dixon | Nicholls | Sr. | New Orleans, La.
WR | Taylor Grimes | UIW | Jr. | Godly, Texas
OL | Rendon Miles-Character | Southeastern | Sr. | New Orleans, La.
OL | PJ Burkhalter | Nicholls | Sr. | Franklinton, La.
OL | Caron Coleman | McNeese | Jr. | St. Louis, Mo.
OL | Nash Jones | UIW | So. | Nacogdoches, Texas
OL | Jair Joseph | Nicholls | Sr. | Belle Rose, La.
PK | Gino Garcia | HBU | Jr. | Richardson, Texas
P | Brady Buell | HBU | Jr. | Traverse City, Mich.

First Team Defense
Pos. | Name | School | Class | Hometown
DL | Isaiah Chambers | McNeese | Gr. | Houston, Texas
DL | Perry Ganci | Nicholls | So. | New Orleans, La.
DL | Mason Kinsey | McNeese | Jr. | Mansfield, Texas
DL | Cameron Preston | UIW | Sr. | Crowley, Texas
LB | Alexis Ramos | Southeastern | Sr. | Salinas, Calif.
LB | Kelechi Anyalebechi | UIW | Sr. | Pearland, Texas
LB | Kordell Williams | McNeese | Jr. | Carencro, La.
DB | Zy Alexander | Southeastern | Fr. | Loreauville, La.
DB | Kaleb Culp | UIW | So. | Dallas, Texas
DB | Kevin Johnson | Nicholls | Sr. | New Orleans, La.
DB | Jarius Monroe | Nicholls | So. | LaPlace, La.
DB | Andre Sam | McNeese | Jr. | Iowa, La.
KR | Gage Larvadain | Southeastern | Fr. | New Orleans, La.
PR | Robert Ferrel | UIW | Sr. | Sparks, Nev.

Second Team Offense
Pos. | Name | School | Class | Hometown
QB | Cameron Ward | UIW | So. | West Columbia, Texas
RB | Taron Jones | Southeastern | Jr. | Mandeville, La.
RB | Deonta McMahon | McNeese | Jr. | Frostploof, Fla.
TE/HB | Lee Negrotto | Nicholls | Fr. | Pass Christian, Miss.
WR | Gage Larvadain | Southeastern | Fr. | New Orleans, La.
WR | Robert Ferrel | UIW | Sr. | Sparks, Nev.
WR | KJ Franklin | Nicholls | So. | Prairieville, La.
OL | John Allen | Southeastern | So. | Jackson, Miss.
OL | Jalen Bell | Southeastern | Jr. | Amory, Miss.
OL | Drew Jones | Southeastern | Sr. | Des Allemands, La.
OL | Evan Roussel | Nicholls | Fr. | Lutcher, La.
OL | Jakob Sell | Northwestern State | Jr. | Dallas, Texas
PK | Gavin Lasseigne | Nicholls | So. | Raceland, La.
P | Kevin Nguyen | UIW | Sr. | Rohnert Park, Calif.

Second Team Defense
Pos. | Name | School | Class | Hometown
DL | Garrett Crawford | Southeastern | So. | Slidell, La.
DL | Brandon Bowen | UIW | Gr. | Trophy Club, Texas
DL | Accord Green | McNeese | Jr. | New Orleans, La.
DL | Jequaries Martin | Nicholls | Sr. | Chilton, Ala.
LB | Rodney Dansby | HBU | Fr. | Houston, Texas
LB | Isaiah Paul | UIW | So. | San Antonio, Texas
LB | Hayden Shaheen | Nicholls | Fr. | Baton Rouge, La.
DB | Donniel Ward-Magee | Southeastern | Jr. | New Orleans, La.
DB | Shemar Bartholomew | Northwestern State | Jr. | New Orleans, La.
DB | Rashon Davis | UIW | Gr. | St. Louis, Mo.
DB | Corione Harris | McNeese | Jr. | New Orleans, La.
DB | Jarrius Wallace | McNeese | Gr. | Villa, La.
KR | Tyson Thompson | HBU | Fr. | Spring, Texas
PR | Mason Pierce | McNeese | So. | Pearland, Texas

Honorable Mention: Ethan McMullan, OL, Southeastern; Mateo Rengifo, K, Southeastern; Austin Dunlap, P, Southeastern; John Graves III, DL, Southeastern; Jack Henderson, DB, Southeastern; Lindsey Scott Jr., QB, Nicholls; Marcus Cooper, RB, UIW; Stephon Huderson, RB, McNeese; Jamal Pettigrew, TE, McNeese; Darion Chafin, WR, UIW; Jay Griffin IV, WR, Northwestern State; Reid Francis, OL, UIW; Caleb Johnson, OL, UIW; Dawson Kier, OL, UIW; Scotty Roblow, P, Northwestern State; Blaine Hoover, DL, UIW; Isaiah Longino, DL, Northwestern State; Myles Vigne, DL, Nicholls; Jared Pedraza, Northwestern State, LB; Jomard Valsin Jr., LB, Northwestern State; Elliott Davison, DB, UIW; Moses Reynolds, DB, UIW; Brandon Richard, DB, UIW; Colby Richardson, McNeese, DB; Mason Pierce, KR, McNeese; Tyson Thompson, PR, HBU.

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