Haney named Defender of the Year; Five other players earn All-Conference nods

Haney named Defender of the Year; Five other players earn All-Conference nods
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Haney named Defender of the Year; Five other players earn All-Conference nods

Birmingham, AL – Chauncy Haney earned Defensive Player of the Year for the Gulf South Conference along with a First Team All-Conference nod along with Johnny Worthy to headline NGU Football’s All-Conference selections. Jordan Helms, Aaron Watson, and Dantevian Byrd were also honored by league coaches with Second Team selections.

The six selections (five different players) is a program high for North Greenville. Jordan Helms is just the second offensive player to earn a spot while four different defenders bested the number of honorees from 2018 which included two winners, Chauncy Haney is the first Player of the Year for North Greenville. 

Chauncy Haney was a game-changer for North Greenville's defense and demanded attention every Saturday by opposing offensive coordinators. The senior defensive lineman, often was the subject of double-teams and extra help in pass protection finished the season as the league's leader in sacks with 9.5 total for the season in 10-games for the Crusaders. He was also the league leader over NGU's 10-contests in tackles for a loss with 16, and first in assisted stops. He was second in the conference in total stops.

Those numbers also ranked Haney among the best nationally as he is ranked 10th in quarterback sacks, 21st in tackles for a loss, and is 12th in total sacks per game. Haney sat atop the GSC single game rankings with a league-high 2.5 sacks in one of NGU's contests. Throughout the season, Haney totaled two games in which he had at least two quarterback stops and six games with at least two tackles for a loss including one game with three stops in the backfield.

Haney's dominance didn't stop there for North Greenville. The senior team captain also led North Greenville with two blocked field goals which rank him second in the league and 10th in the nation. Throughout the season Haney notched two Defensive Player of the Week awards from the GSC and is one of the finalists for the Blanchard Rodgers Award, an honor handed out to the best college football player in South Carolina by the SC College Football Hall of Fame.

Haney will also add one more line to his resume in January as he accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, one of the two biggest all-star games for College Football Players along with the Reese's Senior Bowl. The NFLPA Bowl Game will be played in the Rose Bowl Stadium in January.

Haney is also a Second Team All-Conference honoree this season, earning the Blocking Team spot for special teams. He was second in the league this year in blocked kicks with two, finishing one block behind teammate Johnny Worthy who was the league's First Team winner. 

Johny Worthy was responsible for some of North Greenville’s biggest plays this season both on defense and on special teams as coaches voted him First Team Special Teams honoree. Worthy led North Greenville and the conference this season in blocked kicks with three on the year. The number also made him fourth in Division II. Worthy set the standard for game-highs in 2019 with a pair of blocked kicks against West Georgia, both of which resulted in touchdowns for North Greenville.

Jordan Helms earned the lone offensive spot for the Crusaders this season as the league’s Second Team tight end. Helms was a dual-threat for North Greenville, creating a threat downfield for NGU quarterbacks and as a force in the run game. He played in all 10-games this season and was fourth on the team in receptions with 15 and led all tight ends. He finished with 172-yards and a touchdown.

Helms had a major role in improving the North Greenville ground attack this year as well, providing an extra blocker on the line while also lining up as the team’s H-Back. The Crusaders ran for more than 150-yards a game this season, almost 80-yards per contest more than the 2018 total. The Crusaders also charted four more rushing scores than they did last season, scoring on the ground 18-times.

Aaron Watson is no stranger to posting season lists, this time earning a Second Team All-Conference selection. Watson made a name for himself in the GSC in 2018 and his success and reputation carried over into the 2019 season. Quarterbacks tended to stay away from Watson's side of the field but that didn't deter the junior DB from making plays. he ranks among the top 5-6 players in the league in almost every major pass defense quarterback including interceptions in which he ranks 2nd. One of Watson's interceptions resulted in his first career touchdown for North Greenville.

Among NGU defenders, Watson led the Crusaders in passes defended with 11-stops including seven pass break-ups.

Dantevian Byrd had a career year in 2019 and awarded a Second Team nod. Byrd set personal bests in total tackles, sacks, and tackles for a loss. He also posted his first career field goal block and first career touchdown on the same play in NGU's final game of the season. Byrd's best game of the season came against West Alabama, a performance which earned him the title of Defensive Player of the Week.