Thirteen members of the University of North
Alabama football team have been chosen for All-Gulf South Conference honors in
voting by the league's head coaches, led by GSC Defensive Player of the Year
Tavarius Wilson and GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year Philbert Martial.
The Lions had seven players earn first-team All-GSC honors, while six were named to the second-team.
Wilson is the league's leading tackler with 98 total stops and has earned three GSC Defensive Player of the Week awards this season. He has 7.5 tackles for loss of 23 yards, four quarterback sacks for 16 yards, three interceptions that he has returned for 40 yards, caused fumbles and blocked one kick. Wilson was also a first-team All-GSC pick in 2012 and went on to be named first-team All-Super Region 2 and first-team All-American. He is also one of seven players from Super Region 2 on the regional ballot for the 2013 Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II Player of the Year. Wilson is the first UNA player to be named GSC Defensive Player of the Year since Michael Johnson in 2009. It marks the sixth time overall that UNA has produced the GSC Defensive Player of the Year with James Davis in 1990, Jeff Redcross in 1993, Ronald McKinnon in 1994 and 1995, Johnson in 2009 and Wilson in 2013.
Martial's election marks the second straight year that UNA has the GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year. Floyd Jones was selected in 2012. Playing in the secondary, Martial has made 29 tackles with one tackle for loss and two interceptions that he returned for 65 yards and one touchdown. He also has 660 return yards and 736 all-purpose yards this season.
Senior center Tyler Sizemore of Apalachicola, Fla., and senior all-purpose back Chris Coffey of Decatur, Ala., were named to the first-team All-GSC offensive unit. Wilson, along with junior defensive lineman Taylor Carney of Killen, Ala., senior linebacker Gabe Poe of Pheba, Miss., and senior defensive back Caleb Massey of Sulligent, Ala., were selected for the first-team All-GSC defensive unit. Carney, Wilson and Massey were unanimous selections. Senior long snapper Mabry Cook of Brewton, Ala., was named to the first-team All-GSC Special Teams as a utility player.
Sizemore is a two-year starter at center for the Lions. Coffey has rushed for 550 yards and five touchdowns this season to go with 11 pass receptions for 78 yards. He is also a tremendous blocker in UNA's offensive attack. Carney has 33 tackles to go with 10 tackles for loss of 29 yards, two sacks for 10 yards and one fumble recovery.
Poe, a transfer to UNA this season, is the league's second leading tackler with 93 stops. He has 55 solo stops and 38 assists, six tackles for loss, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He has earned two GSC Defensive Player of the Week awards this season and was also selected first-team All-GSC while playing at West Alabama in 2011.
Massey, a first-team All-GSC, All-Super Region 2 and All-American in 2012, is fourth on UNA's defense in tackles with 78 stops. He has picked off four passes and returned them 42 yards and broken-up four passes.
Receiving second-team All-GSC recognition were sophomore running back Lamonte Thompson of Florence, senior receiver Jason Smith of Gurley, Ala., senior guard David Lundberg of Winfield, Ala., junior tackle Keith Jones of Birmingham, Ala., senior tackle Kenston Redfearn of Lexington, N.C., and senior linebacker Brion James of Hahnville, La.
Thompson was also named second-team All-GSC in 2012. This season he has rushed for 629 yards and five touchdowns and averages 7.5 yards per carry. He has had three games where he has rushed for more than 100 yards, including UNA's last two games against Florida Tech and Tarleton State. Smith is UNA's second-leading receiver with 28 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns. His average of 21.2 yards per reception has helped open up the UNA offense as the Lions now have a deep threat. Lundberg was a second-team All-GSC selection in 20120, while Jones and Redfearn earned their first GSC honors. James is a second-team All-GSC pick for the second time after making 78 tackles with one interception, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery this season.
North Alabama is 8-2 entering this Saturday's opening round NCAA Division II playoff game against Tuskegee. Kickoff is set for noon at Braly Stadium.