BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A pair of Carson-Newman football players have garnered preseason All-America honors from Lindy's Sports in the publication's annual preseason football preview.
Carson-Newman, West Florida and West Alabama are the only program's from Super Region II with multiple athletes selected to the preseason All-America teams. The pair equates to the only players selected to Lindy's preseason All-America teams from the South Atlantic Conference.
Williams became Carson-Newman's 122nd All-American, earning a spot on the Don Hansen Football Gazette listings at the end of his sophomore season.
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. He started all 11 games for the Eagles and made a career-high seven tackles against Newberry.
An 11-game starter for the Eagles on the offensive line, McDowell 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. 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 had at least one knockdown in every game for the Eagles.
First Team Offense
QB - Amir Hall, Bowie State
RB - Marc Jones, Gannon
RB - Cameron Mayberry, Colorado Mines
WR - Weston Carr, Azusa Pacific
WR - Austin Ryan, Bentley
TE - Vincent Hobbs, Texas A&M-Commerce
OL - Frank Ball, Virginia State
OL - Devon Johnson, Ferris State
OL - Nic Sawyer, Ferris State
OL - Collin McAllister, IUP
OL - AJ Roland, Midwestern State
AP - Deonte Harris, Assumption
PK - Casey Bednarski, Minnesota State
First Team Defense
DL - James Prater Jr., Ashland
DL - John Williamson, West Florida
DL - Markus Jones, Angelo State
DL - Jake Klinger, Bloomsburg
LB - Terry Samuel, West Alabama
LB - Brandon Payer, CSU-Pueblo
LB - Kirby Hora, Augustana
DB - Darius Williams, CSU-Pueblo
DB - Tyler Hasty, Central Washington
DB - Sterling Hammond, Virginia Union
DB - Doyin Jibowu, Fort Hays State
P - Zach Gaines, West Alabama
Second Team Offense
QB - Mike Beaudry, West Florida
RB - Walter Fletcher, Edinboro
RB - Marty Carter, Grand Valley State
WR - Ryan Feiss, Shepherd
WR - Chad Hovasse, Adams State
TE - Seth Hebert, Central Missouri
OL - Craig McCorkle, California
OL - James Moore, Central Washington
OL - Zach Flott, Northwest Missouri State
OL - Innis Claud V, Delta State
OL - Phillip McDowell, Carson-Newman
AP - OK Walker, Southeastern Oklahoma
PK - Kristov Martinez, Texas A&M-Commerce
Second Team Defense
DL - Austin Eskew, Northwest Missouri State
DL - MarQuel Shelton, Miles
DL - Tershawn Wharton, Missori S&T
DL - Kahzin Daniels, Charleston (WV)
LB - Garrett Jackson, Adams State
LB - Tyler Morrissey, West Chester
LB - Justin Jackson, Angelo State
DB - Zuril Headrick, Edinboro
DB - Cory Hanger, Southwest Baptist
DB - Darius Williams, Carson-Newman
DB - Stephen Turner, Fairmont State
P - Dante Brown, Fort Hays State