SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference Sports Media Association has selected its annual all-conference teams and specialty awards for the 2022 season. Samford quarterback Michael Hiers was named the Roy M. “Legs” Hawley Offensive Player of the Year, while Chattanooga defensive lineman Jay Person was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Western Carolina running back Desmond Reid is the Freshman of the Year and Samford’s Chris Hatcher was named the Wallace Wade Coach of the Year.
The SCSMA selected all-conference first and second teams for offense, defense and special teams. Due to ties in the voting, there were additional selections at offensive line, defensive line and defensive back on the second team.
2022 SCSMA All-Southern Conference Football Team
Roy M. “Legs” Hawley Offensive Player of the Year – Michael Hiers, Jr., QB, Samford
Defensive Player of the Year – Jay Person, Jr., DL, Chattanooga
Freshman of the Year – Desmond Reid, RB, Western Carolina
Wallace Wade Coach of the Year – Chris Hatcher, Samford
First team offense
QB Michael Hiers, Jr., Samford
RB Jacob Saylors, Sr., ETSU
RB Ailym Ford, Jr., Chattanooga
OL Jacob Johanning, R-Jr., Furman
OL Anderson Tomlin, R-Sr., Furman
OL John Thomas, Jr., Mercer
OL Gavin Orr, Gr., Samford
OL McClendon Curtis, Sr., Chattanooga
TE Ryan Miller, 5th, Furman
WR Devron Harper, Jr., Mercer
WR Chandler Smith, Sr., Samford
First team defense
DL Devonnsha Maxwell, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Jay Person, Jr., Chattanooga
DL KJ Milner, Sr., Western Carolina
DL Micheal Mason, Sr., Wofford
LB Chandler Martin, R-Fr., ETSU
LB Isaac Dowling, So., Mercer
LB Ty Boeck, Sr., Chattanooga
DB Alijah Huzzie, R-So., ETSU
DB Hugh Ryan, R-Jr., Furman
DB Kameron Brown, Jr., Chattanooga
DB Alex Oliver, Jr., VMI
First team special teams
PK Tyler Keltner, Jr., ETSU
P Trey Turk, So., Mercer
LS Robert Soderholm, R-Sr., VMI
RS Devron Harper, Jr., Mercer
Second team offense
QB Fred Payton, Sr., Mercer
RB Dominic Roberto, R-Jr., Furman
RB Jaylan Thomas, Sr., Samford
OL Tereis Drayton, Jr., The Citadel
OL Joe Schreiber, Sr., ETSU
OL Pearson Toomey, R-Jr., Furman
OL Riley Adcock, Jr., Mercer
OL Jabari Brooks, Jr., Samford
OL Reid Williams, So., Chattanooga
TE Drake Starks, Gr., Mercer
WR Ty James, R-So., Mercer
WR Kendall Watson, Gr., Samford
Second team defense
DL Cameron Coleman, R-Sr., Furman
DL Chris Hill, Sr., Mercer
DL Solomon Zubairu, Sr., Mercer
DL Seth Simmer, Gr., Samford
DL Ben Brewton, Jr., Chattanooga
LB Hasan Black, Jr., The Citadel
LB Braden Gilby, R-Sr., Furman
LB Stone Snyder, Sr., VMI
DB Dominick Poole, So., The Citadel
DB TJ Moore, Jr., Mercer
DB Lance Wise, Sr., Mercer
DB Isaiah Richardson, Sr., Samford
DB Reuben Lowery III, So., Chattanooga
Second team special teams
PK Richard McCollum, R-Jr., Western Carolina
P Jack Culbreath, Jr., VMI
LS Steele Judy, Jr., The Citadel
RS Wayne Anderson Jr., R-Jr., Furman
– The four individual superlatives selected by the SCSMA matched those chosen by the league’s coaches, marking the first time since 2018 that had happened.
– Samford quarterback Michael Hiers (Walter Payton Award), Chattanooga defensive lineman Jay Person (Buck Buchanan Award), Western Carolina running back Desmond Reid (Jerry Rice Award) and Samford coach Chris Hatcher (Eddie Robinson Award) are all national finalists for FCS legacy awards, as are first-team All-SoCon selections Mercer wide receiver Devron Harper and Chattanooga running back Ailym Ford (Payton) and ETSU defensive back Alijah Huzzie (Buchanan).
– Entering postseason play, Samford’s Hiers is 329-for-428 for 3,290 yards and 35 touchdowns against just three interceptions through the air. He ranks first in the FCS in completion percentage (.769) and completions per game (29.91) and is in the top 10 in passing touchdowns (third), points responsible for (228, third), points responsible for per game (20.7, third), passing yards (fourth), passing yards per game (299.1, fourth), total offense (313.7, fourth), and passing efficiency (167.0, eighth).
– Hiers has also run for 184 yards and three TDs. He accounted for five total touchdowns each in wins over No. 12/11 Chattanooga and No. 16/19 Mercer to end the regular season.
– Hiers threw for four touchdowns in seven different contests and threw for at least 300 yards in five games, including a pair of contests over 400 yards.
– Hiers was a five-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Week selection and a two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the month honoree this season.
– Hiers is the third Samford quarterback to be named the Roy M. “Legs” Hawley Offensive Player of the Year by the SoCon media. He joins Andy Summerlin, who took the honor in 2013, and Devlin Hodges, who won it three times from 2016-18.
– Chattanooga’s Person has posted 52 tackles this season, a league-leading 17.5 tackles for loss, and 8.0 sacks, which is tied for the SoCon lead.
– Person’s average of 1.6 TFLs per game ranks ninth in the FCS and his 0.73 sacks per game rank 23rd. He posted a career game against ETSU on Oct. 1, recording 4.0 TFLs including 3.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble.
– Led by Person, Chattanooga’s defense led the SoCon in total defense (320.5), rushing defense (108.0) and sacks (35). The Mocs rank 17th, 12th and seventh in those categories in the FCS, respectively, in addition to ranking 22nd in the FCS in scoring defense at 20.6.
– Person earns Chattanooga’s sixth Defensive Player of the Year honor from the media and second straight, as teammate and fellow first-team All-SoCon selection Devonnsha Maxwell was last year’s winner. All six of the Mocs’ selections have come since 2012.
– Western Carolina’s Reid ran for 826 yards on 119 carries this season, the second-most rushing yards by a freshman tailback in program history. He ranked fourth in the SoCon at 83.4 yards per game, with his 6.9 yards per carry serving as a Western Carolina freshman record. Ried scored four TDs on the ground and added one more through the air, as he had 21 catches for 212 yards and a TD catch, giving him 1,038 all-purpose yards on the season.
– Reid, the only SoCon finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, surpassed 100 yards rushing in three games this year, highlighted by a career-best 175 against Presbyterian on Sept. 17.
– Reid becomes the fifth Catamount to earn Freshman of the Year honors from the SCSMA and the first since quarterback Tyrie Adams in 2016. He is the second WCU running back to take the honor, joining 2009 Freshman of the Year Michael Johnson.
– Samford’s Hatcher is the first Samford coach to claim the Wallace Wade Coach of the Year honor from the SCSMA.
– Hatcher has led Samford to 10 wins for just the second time in the program’s history and first since 1991. Hatcher’s Bulldogs went 8-0 in SoCon play to win their first-ever outright league championship and claim the No. 6 national seed in the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
– Hatcher’s squad’s current nine-game winning streak is the longest in program history and the eight SoCon wins are the most in program history. Samford is 10-0 against FCS competition so far this season with its lone loss of the year coming at defending FBS national champion Georgia.
– Hatcher’s Bulldogs are ranked No. 9 in the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 and No. 8 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25.
– Mercer paced the league with 13 players earning postseason honors from the SCSMA. The Bears put five players on the first teams and a league-best eight on the second teams.
– Furman and Chattanooga followed with nine selections each and SoCon champion Samford had eight. The Mocs claimed a league-best six first-team picks.
– Just as he did on the coaches’ all-conference teams, Mercer’s Harper earned first-team honors at both wide receiver and return specialist. He fourth in the FCS in all-purpose yards per game (170.73), 10th in combined kick return yardage (692), seventh in kickoff return average (29.1) and eighth in total touchdowns.