JACKSON, Miss., Nov. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, and Ole Miss wide receiver A. J. Brown, one of top receivers in the country and last year’s winner, lead a list of 10 nominees for the 2018 C Spire Conerly Trophy, which annually honors the top college football player in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi State University defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is a finalist for the 2018 C Spire Conerly Trophy, which annually recognizes the top college football player in the Magnolia State.

Simmons, a pre-season All American considered one of the top defensive players in the nation, and Brown join finalists from eight other schools vying for the coveted award, which is named after College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Conerly, who also starred for Ole Miss and the New York Giants. 

The other eight finalists are Southern Miss wide receiver Quez Watkins, Mississippi Valley State receiver and running back Booker Chambers, Mississippi College running back Tiberias Lampkin, Alcorn State quarterback Noah Johnson, Millsaps College linebacker Chandler Coleman, Belhaven University linebacker Denarrius Noel, Jackson State place kicker and punter Christian Jacquemin and Delta State quarterback Patrick Shegog.

For the sixth time in the award’s 23-year history, fan voting will count for 10 percent of the award and a panel of statewide sports media will make up the remaining 90 percent.  Fan voting will begin today (Nov. 19) at 5 p.m. CT and conclude on Sunday, Nov. 25 at noon CT.  Fans can vote online for their favorite player up to three times a day at www.cspire.com/conerly.

“Football fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs.  We are excited about giving fans the ability once again to help influence who wins the C Spire Conerly Trophy,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire. 

The 2018 C Spire Conerly Trophy finalists, in alphabetical order by school, include:

  • Alcorn State UniversityJunior quarterback Noah Johnson leads the Braves in both passing and rushing with 21 touchdowns (14 passing and 7 rushing). Alcorn finished with a 6-1 league record and will host the SWAC championship
  • Belhaven University – Linebacker Denarrius Noel, a three-year starter for the Blazers, had 70 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses. He also recorded a team-high 3.80 academic grade point average during the year.
  • Delta State UniversityGulf South Conference co-offensive freshman of the year quarterback Patrick Shegog played in 10 games and started eight for the Statesmen. He totaled 546 yards rushing and 1,722 yards passing with 14 touchdowns (10 passing and four rushing).
  • Jackson State University Senior place kicker and punter Christian Jacquemin is a two-time SWAC Specialist of the Week. He converted 15 of 17 field goal attempts for the Blue Bengals and averages almost 42 yards per punt.
  • Millsaps College Senior inside linebacker Chandler Coleman notched 14.5 tackles for a loss and had 6.5 sacks, which ranked 4th and 5th best in the SAA conference.
  • Mississippi College Senior running back Tiberias Lampkin notched 778 yards rushing and averaged 5.4 yards per carry and 77 yards per game for the Choctaws. He ran for over 100 yards three different games and had a season high 126 yards against. Florida Tech. He also logged 117 yards and a touchdown against rival Delta State.
  • Mississippi State University Pre-season All-American defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons recorded 54 tackles, including 21 solo, 11.5 tackles for loss, 20 pressures, 4 quarterback hits and 15 quarterback hurries. He is a Bednarik Award seminfinalist for the second straight year.
  • Mississippi Valley StateSenior wide receiver and running back Booker Chambers averaged 8.6 yards per carry and ran for 3 touchdowns and 265 yards, caught 41 passes for 554 yards and four touchdowns, and averaged 23 yards per punt return and 25.3 yards on kickoff returns for 2 touchdowns.
  • University of Mississippi – 2017 C Spire Conerly Trophy winner A.J. Brown, one of the nation’s top receivers, is closing in on all-time receiving honors at Ole Miss in just three years. This season Brown caught 81 passes for 1,259 yards and averaged 114.5 yards per game and scored 6 touchdowns.
  • University of Southern Mississippi – Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Quez Watkins had 67 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the Golden Eagles.

Past winners of the C Spire Conerly Trophy have included such former and current prominent NFL standouts as Evan Engram, Dak Prescott, Deuce McAllister, Eli Manning, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Patrick Willis, Anthony Dixon and last year’s winner, A.J. Brown.  Prescott and Manning are the only two-time winners of the award.   

The C Spire Conerly Trophy presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27 at the Country Club of Jackson, 345 Saint Andrews Driver, in Jackson. A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by the 6:30 p.m. dinner program and trophy presentation.  Coaches and finalists from all the schools are expected to attend.  For ticket availability or more information, go to msfame.com or call 601.982.8264.  Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints great Deuce McAllister will be the special guest speaker at the awards program.

Now in its 23rd year, the C Spire Conerly Trophy is named after the late Charlie Conerly – the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was an All-American at a Mississippi university, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship.  C Spire has sponsored the outstanding player awards program for all major college sports in Mississippi since 1998.

About C Spire
C Spire is a leading technology company committed to transforming Mississippi through the C Spire Tech Movement, which includes the massive deployment of broadband internet to homes and small businesses, a state-of-the-art digital experience for its customers and team members, technology innovation leadership and the creation and retention of a 21st century technology workforce in its region.  The company provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses.  This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.

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