BROOKFIELD, Ill. - Five Carson-Newman football players have been lauded with all-region honors for Super Region II, the Don Hansen Football Committee announced Tuesday afternoon.
Defensive tackle Montel Presley (Bushnel, Fla.) made the first team. Offensive lineman Phil McDowell (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and safety Darius Williams (St. Petersburg, Fla.) make the second team. Corner Desmond Fairell (Miami, Fla.) and linebacker Sha'Heem Stupart (Taylors, S.C.) rounded out the Eagles' selections on the third team.
Presley was one of the interior anchors for a defensive line that led the South Atlantic Conference in rushing defense and produced the Eagles' second best rush defense since the year 2000. The Eagles allowed only 95 yards per game on the ground. C-N also had the conference's best total defense and the second best scoring defense.
Presley finished the year with 43 tackles, the third most tackles among Carson-Newman linemen and the most for an interior lineman in the South Atlantic Conference.
His top effort came in the Eagles' 30-21 win over then No. 23 Catawba on Sept. 30. He had nine tackles that day, the second most in his career, to go along with 2.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a sack.
The Bushnell, Fla.-native finished the year with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Presley was a modicum of consistency, he had at least five tackles in half the Eagles' games.
He was named the South Atlantic Conference's defensive player of the week following his nine-tackle performance against Catawba.
McDowell led Carson-Newman in knockdowns and overall grade in his sophomore season. McDowell produced a whopping 33 knockdowns on the year, good for the single-season C-N record, including the two highest single-game knockdown marks.
McDowell had seven knockdowns in the Eagles' win against Limestone and six against Mars Hill in another C-N victory.
He helped pave the way for Carson-Newman's offense to rank second in the league with 409 yards per game gained, including a league-best 275 yards on the ground. The Eagles ranked in the top 10 nationally in yards rushing.
Darius Williams led the South Atlantic Conference in interceptions with five in his sophomore season and helped Carson-Newman finish the year with the most picks in the South Atlantic Conference with 14.
Williams tallied a pick in three straight games from Sept. 23 against Newberry to Oct. 7 against Limestone.
His top effort though came against Tusculum when he snared an INT and returned it 58 yards to the house for the Eagles' lone defensive touchdown of the season.
Williams five interceptions are the most for Carson-Newman since All-American Eien Jacob snared that many in 2013. He was 19th nationally in interceptions.
Williams also finished the year with 48 tackles, the fourth most on Carson-Newman's team.
He and the rest of the Eagles' secondary limited every receiver they faced under their season averages, with the exception of Mars Hill's Keshaun Taylor and Craig Rucker.
Stupart concluded one of the greatest careers for a Carson-Newman linebacker in program history. The native of the Palmetto State finished his C-N career with 312 career tackles, the seventh most all-time in Carson-Newman history. He also racked up 24 stops behind the line and 6.5 sacks in his C-N career.
As a senior, Stupart finished with the year as Carson-Newman's leading tackler and the third leading tackler in the South Atlantic Conference. He made a career-best 94 stops to go along with 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Stupart finished his career with 11, 10-tackle performances, including a career-high 16 against Limestone on Oct. 7. Stupart was Carson-Newman's leading tackler on 16 occasions in his career and finished with eight or more tackles in 21 games, nearly half of his Carson-Newman career.
He is one of three players in the last decade for the Eagles to have a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in one game.
Fairell followed up a four-interception campaign as a freshman with four more picks as a sophomore, putting him in the top 10 on Carson-Newman's career interceptions chart through two seasons.
Fairell also forced three fumbles and recovered another.
He was named the South Atlantic Conference's defensive player following his performance against Limestone. Fairell earned the award following a seven-tackle performance in the Eagles' 31-20 win over Limestone that also featured a pair of forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Both turnovers that Fairell generated were crucial to preserving Carson-Newman's lead.
He grabbed his second interception of the season and the sixth pick of his career with 2:14 left in the third quarter and the Eagles up one. Fairell ripped in an Ivan Corbin pass at the C-N 10 and returned it deep into Saints territory.
His fumble recovery was arguably the more impressive play and without question sealed the win for the Eagles. Jerko'ya Patton rushed for a first down for the Saints, but Fairell locked him up as he moved to the right sideline and ripped the ball away from him.
Fairell joins fellow first team All-SAC performer Sha'Heem Stupart as one of three players in the last decade with a fumble recovery, forced fumble and pick in one game.
A lockdown corner, Fairell's seven tackles against the Saints were his most for the season. He didn't have more than three tackles any other game, a byproduct of teams' inability to throw the football to his side of the field.