Watkins named Special Teams Player of the Year, seven Panthers earn All-SAA honors

Jamal Watkins (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Jamal Watkins (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Sophomore Jamal Watkins capped off a successful debut season for the Birmingham-Southern football team by being voted the Southern Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Year, the league office announced today. Additionally, seven Panthers, including Watkins, earned All-SAA accolades.

Watkins, a wide receiver and return specialist from Hampton, Ga., was the starting punt returner for BSC but really made a name for himself as a kick returner. In week two against Huntingdon, Watkins returned two kick-offs for touchdowns, including a 93-yarder late in the game to seal the one-point victory. Following that D3football.com Team of the Week performance, few teams kicked to Watkins, though he did manage to return 14 kicks for 383 yards with an impressive 27.4 yard per return average.

Senior linebacker Alex King (Mobile, Ala.) was also honored, earning a spot on the Defensive First Team. He led BSC and ranked third in the SAA with 98 total tackles and 57 solo tackles, and was second in the league with 50 sack yards and fourth with 5.5 sacks.

Senior offensive lineman Nick Maxey and junior tailback Samir Usman earned Second-Team All-SAA Offense honors, and junior defensive back Matt Franks was named to the Second-Team Defensive team.

Watkins, freshman defensive back Matthew Byers, and senior punter Hagen Mancuso were named to the Honorable Mention team.