App State

BOONE — Appalachian State football players are continuing to receive attention from award voters, with seven players being named to watch lists for national honors.

Demetrius Taylor is one of just three FBS defensive ends on the watch list for the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Player of the Year award.

The 35-player list includes a total of 10 defenders, with Taylor earning consideration thanks to his high-level production for the Mountaineers. He’s already made the preseason watch lists for the two most prestigious defensive player of the year awards, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award

For the second straight summer, Taylor has also been named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, announced the watch list for a trophy that is presented by LendingTree and goes to the national defensive player of the year. Taylor is also on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, another method of determining the nation’s top defensive player.

In his two seasons as a starter and first-team All-Sun Belt selection, Taylor has posted 84 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and nine passes defended with one interception. His 19.5 career sacks rank fourth among active FBS players, and he has also totaled 35.5 tackles for loss in his career.

Recently named an Academic All-American, App State’s Thomas Hennigan has made the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is awarded to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy is known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service” and is presented annually in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

A two-time All-Sun Belt pick, Hennigan is returning for a super senior year as one of App State’s all-time leading receivers. He currently ranks fourth in catches (182), fourth in receiving yards (2,301) and fifth in touchdown catches (17) in the App State record books. He maintains a 3.53 GPA as a marketing (sales) major with a minor in finance and banking.

A starter in 51 of 52 games since stepping onto App State’s campus, Hennigan has helped lead the Mountaineers to a 42-10 record, three conference championships and four straight bowl victories.

During his time in Boone, Hennigan has volunteered time reading for local elementary school students as well as participating in school supply drives, canned food drives, Operation Christmas Child and Western Youth Network activities.

Two-way talent Caleb Spurlin has been named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given annually to the most versatile FBS player in the country.

The Paul Hornung Award is presented by Texas Roadhouse and given by the Louisville Sports Commission in the memory of the late football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. The 2021 watch list includes 57 players.

Last season, Spurlin started all 12 games at defensive end, contributed at defensive tackle and emerged as a short-yardage fullback/H-back. He was the only FBS player in 2020 (and just the third since 2000) with at least 2.5 sacks and two receiving touchdowns in the same year.

Spurlin finished the 2020 season with 31 tackles, four tackles for loss, two-and-a-half sacks, three quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. In addition to his receiving touchdowns, his backfield blocking created holes on three rushing touchdowns in 2020.

Punter Xavier Subotsch has been named to the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top punter.

Last season, Subotsch’s net punting average of 40.3 yards (kick length minus return yardage) led full-time starters in the Sun Belt. Of his 36 punts, there were 12 fair catches and 11 kicks inside the 20, as opponents had only 39 punt return yards on 18 attempts, with a long return of 11 yards all season.

App State ranked No. 11 nationally — and first in the Sun Belt — by allowing 2.2 yards per punt return and No. 23 nationally — and second in the Sun Belt — by allowing 3.3 punt return yards per game.

A super senior from Australia, Subotsch has played in 52 career games, and his 26 punts inside the 20 during the 2019 season set a school record.

For the second straight summer, App State defensive end Demetrius Taylor has been named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, announced the watch list for a trophy that is presented by LendingTree and goes to the national defensive player of the year. Taylor is also on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, another method of determining the nation’s top defensive player.

In his two seasons as a starter and first-team All-Sun Belt selection, Taylor has posted 84 tackles, 26.0 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and nine passes defended with one interception. His 19.5 career sacks rank fourth among active FBS players, and he has also totaled 35.5 tackles for loss in his career.

Offensive lineman Baer Hunter is a repeat selection to the watch list for the Outland Trophy.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound super senior is a two-time All-Sun Belt selection who moved to center in the spring after starting the last 31 games at right guard. Change isn’t new to him, though, considering he began his App State career as a defensive lineman and spent time at tight end before becoming a standout offensive lineman who has 38 total starts entering the 2021 season.

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded since 1946, is presented to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman on offense or defense. Hunter already has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top center.

For the second straight year, App State cornerback Shaun Jolly has been named to the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award that goes to the nation’s best defensive back.

The list from The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs.

Jolly has received All-America recognition in each of his first two years as a starter, with PFF College naming him a second-team All-American to end a five-interception campaign in 2019 and Phil Steele naming him an Honorable Mention All-American in 2020.

Also a first-team All-Sun Belt pick in 2019 and 2020, Jolly has recorded 19 passes defended and 86 tackles in his two years as a starter.

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