NEWBERRY — Newberry College quarterback Raleigh Yeldell was named South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, head coach Todd Knight picked up Coach of the Year honors, and the Wolves totaled 15 selections to the all-SAC first and second teams in the league’s yearly awards.
The awards were announced Tuesday by the conference office.
The Wolves had six players named to the first team offense and three apiece selected to the second team offense and both second team units. Newberry had at least one player named all-conference at every position on both sides of the ball and picked up one special teams nod at return specialist.
Yeldell headlines the league awards as its most dominant offensive player, earning first team quarterback honors in addition to his Offensive Player of the Year accolade.
Appearing in 10 games, the senior from Edgefield has rewritten the record books during the 2016 season. He is Newberry’s single-season leader in passing yardage, total offense, completions, attempts, and is one touchdown away from matching Josh Stepp for the single-season school record.
In 2016, he owns Newberry’s first-ever 3,000-yard passing season and is 82 yards shy of cracking 3,500 yards of total offense, currently ranking him eighth in South Atlantic Conference history. He has picked up four AstroTurf SAC Offensive Player of the Week awards and one Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Week nod this season.
Yeldell currently leads the nation in completion percentage at 70.3 percent and ranks in the top 20 nationally in eight other categories, including sixth in per-game passing yardage and eighth in total offense per game. He has led Newberry’s offense to a top-20 national ranking in five statistical categories. He is also a member of Newberry Football’s honor council, the Order of the Gray Stripe.
The signal-caller is the first player in Newberry history to accumulate 5,000 yards through the air and 1,500 on the ground, has the third-most passing yards in school history, has rushed for more yards than any other Newberry quarterback, and is 130 yards from moving into second place in Newberry history for career total offense.
Knight was named Coach of the Year after leading Newberry to one of its most successful seasons in school history. The Wolves dropped the opener against Florida Tech before rattling off 10 consecutive wins, closing the regular season at No. 14 in the national polls and earning a program-best No. 2 seed in Super Region 2 for the 2016 NCAA Division II Football Championship.
Newberry’s 10-1 record eclipses the Wolves’ 9-3 mark in 2013 as the most successful season under Knight’s watch, and the team’s 7-0 mark in league play gave Newberry its first undefeated season in the SAC, its second outright league title, and third conference championship overall.
Newberry led the league with nine first team selections.
First Team Offense
• Raleigh Yeldell (QB) – The SAC Offensive Player of the Year headlines the first team all-conference selections. Video highlights
• Markell Castle (WR) – The sophomore from York led the league and ranks third in Newberry single-season history with 863 receiving yards on 64 catches. He tied for the team lead with six touchdowns. Castle had four 100-yard receiving games, including a 181-yard effort against Florida Tech that ranked sixth in school history and featured a catch that was ranked No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10.
• Cole Watson (WR) – Watson, a senior from Conway, was fifth in the league with 660 yards on 49 receptions this season and scored six touchdowns. He had three 100-yard receiving games on the year. He netted 151 yards on 10 catches at Mars Hill, sparking Newberry’s first win at Meares Stadium in a decade. He is also a member of the Order of the Gray Stripe.
• Bobby McNeil (OL) – A senior from Huger, McNeil had 47 pancake blocks at left guard this season and never graded out below an 86 on the 100-point scale, including a 95 in the championship-clinching win over Wingate. As the only returning starter on the offensive line, McNeil was a key factor in Newberry’s gaudy offensive statistics. He has started 33 of Newberry’s 34 games over the past three seasons.
• Tyler Stasky (OL) – Stasky’s 6-10, 330-pound frame made him a dominant left tackle that combined with McNeil to anchor the left side of Newberry’s offensive line. He started every games in which he played, accumulated 25 pancake blocks, and averaged a 90 percent grade going up against most teams’ top defensive end. Stasky combined with McNeil, second team honoree Dakota Mozingo, and the rest of the offensive line to allow just 17 sacks on 399 pass attempts this season. He is a member of the Order of the Gray Stripe.
• Baptiste Staggers (TE) – Staggers is a junior from North Charleston that finished the regular season with 24 catches for 260 yards and four touchdowns. He had a long reception of 50 yards and had as many as 64 yards during a game. He caught at least one pass in every game, including a 16-yard scoring play against Wingate that was critical in the Wolves’ title-clinching victory. He is a member of the Order of the Gray Stripe.
First Team Defense
• Jimmy Holmes (DL) – A senior from Aiken, Holmes finished the regular season with 37 tackles, including 4.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss. He played on the interior of a defensive line responsible for accumulating 32 sacks and 83 tackles for loss that accounted for 364 yards lost. He also had an interception, broke up a pass, and blocked two kicks. His best game came against Carson-Newman, where he notched a season-high six tackles and had two of Newberry’s school-record nine sacks. He is an Order of the Gray Stripe member.
• Jamarcus Henderson (DL) – Henderson had a breakout season at the defensive end position. The sophomore from Union is second on the team with 59 tackles, including a whopping 19.0 tackles for loss that includes 7.5 sacks, ninth-most in single-season school history. He recorded at least one tackle for loss in nine of 11 games this season and had six or more stops on six occasions. He tallied a pass breakup and led the team with seven quarterback hurries.
• Joe Blue (LB) – A sophomore from Dillon, Blue led the team and finished fifth in the conference with 84 tackles on the season as an inside linebacker. He also ranked first in the league with 62 solo stops. Blue led the Wolves in tackles in six games this season and finished second on the team in three others, accumulating as many as 12 tackles in a game and reaching double figures five times. All 11 of his tackles at North Greenville were solo stops. His season also included a pair of sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, and an acrobatic, tip-drill interception against Virginia Union. He is also a member of the Order of the Gray Stripe.
Second Team Offense
• Romelo Doctor (RB) – Last year’s Division II Offensive Player of the Year in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the senior from Summerville led the team and ranked eighth in the SAC with 631 rushing yards. He scored 10 touchdowns on the ground and added 209 yards through the air on 28 receptions. He hit his stride in the middle of the season, rushing for an average of 76.0 yards per game and seven total touchdowns on 64 carries during a five-week span. He ranks fifth in school history in rushing touchdowns and sixth in career yards, attempts, and 100-yard games. He is an Order of the Gray Stripe member.
• Braxton Ivery (WR) – The reigning SAC Offensive Player of the Week was a versatile weapon for Newberry this season. Ivery was third on the team and sixth in the conference in receiving yards, netting 605 yards and four touchdowns on 54 catches. He also added 172 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, sometimes on handoffs and at other times taking direct snaps at quarterback in a wildcat formation. His rushing touchdowns of 10 and 49 yards on consecutive fourth-quarter offensive snaps gave Newberry the win over Wingate, and he totaled 153 all-purpose yards in the contest with 74 yards on the ground and 79 on four catches.
• Dakota Mozingo (OL) – Newberry’s starting center for 10 games, Mozingo is a junior from Rock Hill. He totaled 40 pancake blocks, graded out in winner in seven contests, and had an average grade of 84 percent. He is also a member of Newberry’s Order of the Gray Stripe.
• Cole Watson (RS) – Watson’s second all-conference selection comes as a return specialist. He finished second in the league with 159 punt return yards on 23 attempts, including a season-long 39-yard return against Tusculum. He was the SAC Special Teams Player of the Week for returning three times for 25 yards, holding on all PAT attempts, and averaging 49.5 yards on four punts after being pressed into emergency punting duty at Brevard.
Second Team Defense
• Will Elm (LB) – The junior Irmo native and Order of the Gray Stripe member recorded 57 tackles as an outside linebacker to finish third on the team. He counted one sack among his 3.0 tackles for loss and broke up two passes. All but 13 of his tackles were solo efforts. He netted at least seven tackles in a game four times, including 11 against Wingate and a season-high 13 at Mars Hill.
• Rashaad Smith (DB) – The senior Order of the Gray Stripe member and North Charleston native led the Wolves with 10 passes defended, three interceptions and seven pass breakups. He broke up passes on consecutive plays on Wingate’s final set of downs to help force a turnover on downs and win the SAC championship for the Wolves. He had interceptions in consecutive games to begin the season. Thirty-one of his 40 tackles on the season were solo stops.
This release was provided by Newberry College.