Top 11 Highlights of the 2011 Football Season
Jan. 13, 2012
Top 11 Football Achievements and Milestones of 2011
The 2011 Southern Miss football season was a season for the record books including the most wins in school history, a Conference USA championship, and ending with a Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl victory.
SouthernMiss.com will be showcasing the top 11 highlights of the 2011 football season over the next four weeks with the #1 highlight being released on Wednesday, February 1st, national signing day.
It was a banner year in 2011 for football Golden Eagles accepting accolades for their work both on and off the field.
One needs to look no further than Austin Davis who completed his career with two very prestigious honors. The Meridian, Miss., native captured the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to the player that has gone from walk-on to stardom during his career. Davis beat out receivers Griff Whalen of Stanford and Patrick Edwards of Houston to earn the national award.
That turned out to be the second major award in two weeks for the senior quarterback, who also garnered the Conerly Trophy for top collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. Davis was the first Southern Miss player to receive that award since Damion Fletcher collected the hardware in 2007. Davis' win also completed the Golden Eagle sweep of winning the three major awards for males over the calendar year as Gary Flowers won the Howell Award for men's basketball and Tyler Koelling nabbed the Ferris Trophy for baseball.
Davis also was Lowe's CLASS Award first-team selection, as well as national finalist for the ARA National Sportsmanship Award.
Still, Davis wasn't the only Golden Eagle to get noticed for their work during the season.
The Golden Eagles enjoyed eight different Conference USA Player of the Week award winners in 2011, marking the most since the program tallied nine during the 2004 campaign. Senior place kicker Danny Hrapmann and senior defensive back Marquese Wheaton each won twice during the year. For Wheaton, he won the defensive award once as well as collecting the special teams honor once, marking the first time that that feat has happened in the league since 2007.
The weekly award winners for the year included Davis for offense, senior Cordarro Law, senior Korey Williams and Wheaton for defense and Hrapmann (twice), Wheaton and junior Tracey Lampley for special teams. In addition, Ronnie Thornton earned a ESPN Helmet Sticker following his 14-tackle performance and interception return for a touchdown against Houston.
Senior offensive lineman Lamar Holmes, along with Law, Wheaton and Lampley at punt returner, were chosen by the league's coaches to the C-USA first-team following the season, while Davis, junior offensive lineman Joe Duhon, senior offensive lineman Jason Weaver and Hrapmann garnered special teams honors.
Wheaton also collected a fourth-team All-America accolade by Phil Steele's Magazine, while Lampley was an honorable mention All-American at returner by SI.com.
Senior deep snapper Creighton Nelms garnered C-USA All-Academic team honors and was also a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District pick.
The awards help illustrate the unprecedented success of this past season.