Player of the Year: Sully Laiche, DE, Nicholls
Named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the FCS’ top defensive player, Laiche totaled 19½ tackles for loss and 10 sacks in the regular season to bring his career totals to 59 tackles-for-loss and 35½ sacks.
Hailing from Gramercy and a graduate of Lutcher, Laiche was a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line. Despite missing the first two games, Laiche led all FCS players with 2.1 tackles-for-loss per game and ranked fifth nationally in sacks per game (1.1). He led the Southland with nine sacks in conference play and recorded at least one tackle-for-loss in each of his nine starts.
For his career, Laiche is the active leader in the FCS with 35.5 sacks. The total ranks him fourth all-time in the Southland Conference and just 2.5 from tying the league’s top mark. Laiche is also just a half-sack from reaching the top 10 all-time in the FCS.
Offensive Player of the Year: Chase Fourcade, QB, Nicholls
Last year’s Player of the Year, Fourcade finished his final regular season as the most efficient passer in the league in both overall (151.3) and conference-only games (157.7). He ranked ninth among FCS quarterbacks in completion percentage (66.1) and averaged the second-most yards of total offense in Southland contests (303.2).
Fourcade played a key role in the Colonels’ top rushing offense, ranking seventh in league games with 56.0 yards per game. Nine of his 11 rushing TDs were in Southland competition, which was fourth-best in the SLC. In the win over Northwestern State, he rushed for a career-high 135 yards and added two touchdowns.
He also broke school records for passing and rushing touchdowns this season and is second among active leaders with 12,271 career yards of total offense. and third with 10,448 yards passing.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Livings, DE, McNeese
McNeese senior defensive end Chris Livings, has been named the Southland Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year the league announced in connection with the revealing of the 2019 Football All-Conference teams.
The Lake Charles native ended the season with a team-high 9.5 quarterback sacks, ranking him third in the conference. He recorded 12 tackles for a loss to go along with 52 total tackles, two pass break ups, five quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.
He ended his career with 30 QB sacks, ranking second all-time in school history and just one away from the career record of 31. He also recorded 44 career tackles for a loss, ranking fourth all-time in school history.
Freshman of the Year: Tyler Hudson, WR, Central Arkansas
Hudson, a receiver from Spring, Texas, earned the biggest postseason honor for the Bears after catching a team-high 52 passes for 939 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaging 18.1 yards per reception. He was also named to the All-SLC second-team.
Newcomer of the Year: Trace Mascorro, DL, Sam Houston State
A transfer from UTEP, Mascorro started all 12 games at defensive tackle for the Bearkats, who led the league in tackles-for-loss and sacks as a team. He tallied 15.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Mascorro registered at least two TFL in five games.
Offensive Lineman of the Year: P.J. Burkhalter, Nicholls
Burkhalter served as the starting center and left guard for Nicholls, who led the Southland with 188.3 rushing yards per game and ranked second in scoring (32.8) and total offense per game (449.7).
With Burkhalter leading the way, sophomore RB Julien Gums broke the Colonel’s single-season rushing touchdowns record (13) and has found the end zone in five straight games.
Coach of the Year: Frank Scelfo, Southeastern Louisiana
Scelfo came to Hammond with over 30 years of coaching experience. He took over the Southeastern program after spending the previous two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UTSA. In 2016, his offense set 15 school records and helped the Roadrunners to their first-ever bowl game, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Scelfo’s changes in his debut season included 10 All-Southland Conference players. Juwan Petit-Frere, Bransen Schwebel, and Devonte Williams were all named to the first team, while Petit-Frere also earned All-American honors from the AFCA as an all-purpose player. Schwebel, Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, and Jon Miller also represented SLU on the Southland All-Academic Team with Adeyemi-Berglund claiming CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 accolades.
Scelfo led the Lions (7-4, 6-3 Southland) to a berth in the FCS playoffs. The Lions hosted Villanova in Strawberry Stadium.
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