Tuesday, December 6, 2016

SCSU's Leonard Tabbed as MEAC Defensive Player of the Year

NEW YORK CITY -- South Carolina State redshirt junior linebacker Darius Leonard received one of the highest league honors this season by being named MEAC Defense Player of the Year, Tuesday (Dec.6) morning at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

North Carolina A&T State running back Tarik Cohen was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Offensive Player of the Year, the league announced.
The conference announced the award winners in New York City, in a partnership with the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, during the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner.

All honors were voted on by the MEAC's head football coaches and sports information directors.

"It was an honor to win this award, I'm glad that I can uphold the tradition by bringing the defensive player of the year award back to South Carolina State for the fourth year in a row, "said Leonard. "I would like to think my coaches and my teammates for helping me accomplish such a prestigious honor."

Leonard (6-3, 220) led the conference in tackles, as he collected 124 this season (6th in FCS). He was selected the 2016 Preseason All-MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the 2016 All-MEAC First Team. A three-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Week, Leonard finished the season with 78 solo tackles (4th in FCS), 14.5 tackles for a loss of 64 yards, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, five pass deflections, four forced fumbles (8th in FCS) and two blocked kicks. Leonard notched a season-high 19 tackles against #3 Clemson on Oct. 15. The Lake View, S.C. native has 281 total tackles in three seasons of play with one remaining. Leonard is also a finalist for the 2016 Buck Buchanan Award.

South Carolina State now becomes the first school in MEAC history to have four consecutive Defense Player of the Year Award honorees. The past four winners including Leonard are linebacker Joe Thomas in 2013, and defensive lineman Javon Hargrave in 2014 & 2015.He is the 16th Bulldog to earn the honor.

For more information on South Carolina State Athletics visit www.scsuatheltics.com or call the Office of Athletic Media Relations at (803) 536-7060.


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