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Mississippi’s Top College Football Player to be Named From Among 10 Finalists for the 2014 C Spire Conerly Trophy

Ole Miss’ Senquez Golson hopes to be first defensive back to win award; Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott vies to become eighth quarterback to win top college gridiron honor in Magnolia State

Fan voting, which influences 10 percent of the award total, starts tomorrow via social media and text message

Jackson, Miss. - (November 24, 2014) – Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson, one of five finalists for the Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player, and Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, a likely Heisman Trophy finalist, lead a list of 10 nominees for the 2014 C Spire Conerly Trophy, which annually honors the top college football player in the Magnolia State.

Golson, a Senior Bowl invitee who would be the first defensive back ever to win the trophy, and Prescott, who is currently ranked 5th on the Heisman Trophy watch list, join finalists from eight other schools vying for the coveted award, which is named after College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Conerly, who also starred for the New York Giants.

The other eight finalists are quarterbacks John Gibbs Jr. of Alcorn State and Tyler Sullivan of Delta State; wide receivers Julian Stafford of Mississippi Valley State, Greg Livingston of Belhaven and Daniel Williams of Jackson State; defensive back Dylan Klibert of Mississippi College and defensive ends Zach Bell of Millsaps College and Dasmon McCullum of Southern Miss.

For the second time in the award’s history, fan voting will count for 10 percent of the award and a panel of statewide media will make up the remaining 90 percent. Fan voting will begin on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. and conclude on Dec. 1 at 8 a.m. Just as the media voters do, fans will vote for a first place, second place and third place winner. Fans will be able to vote by Facebook, Twitter and via text messaging. Fans may submit up to three votes per day during the voting period; however, only one entry is allowed per day for each of the social media methods. For entry rules and qualifications on fan voting, go to www.cspire.com/conerly.

“Football fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs, especially with the success of so many teams this year. We are excited to give fans the ability once again to help influence who wins the C Spire Conerly Trophy,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire.

The 2014 Conerly Trophy finalists include:

  • Golson, a junior from Pascagoula, Miss., leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks second nationally in pass interceptions with nine. Golson also has been in on 35 tackles, three for losses. He has broken up a team-high seven passes and his interception in the final seconds sealed Ole Miss’ victory over No. 1 ranked Alabama. He is also a national semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarick and Jim Thorpe awards, which honor the nation’s top college defensive player.
  • Prescott, a junior from Haughton, La., has led the Bulldogs to three victories over teams that were unbeaten and ranked among the nation’s Top 10 when they played Mississippi State. He has passed for 2,714 yards and 24 touchdowns and run for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Livingston, a senior from Houston, Miss., has averaged 122 receiving yards per game with 117 catches for 1,341 yards and eight touchdowns for the Blazers.
  • Klibert, a senior from LaPlace, La., intercepted two passes and was in on 48 tackles, including seven for lost yardage, for the Choctaws.
  • Sullivan, a redshirt freshman from Louisville, Miss., has led Delta State to a 9-1 record and a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II college football playoffs. He has personally accounted for 31 touchdowns in leading one of the nation’s most productive offenses. His TD to interception ratio is 24-12 and he has seven rushing touchdowns.
  • McCullum, a senior from Hebron, Miss., leads USM with 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. For his career with the Golden Eagles, he has 7.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, five fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.
  • Williams, a sophomore from East St. Louis, Ill., had 63 catches for 909 yards and eight touchdowns for Jackson State and ranks third in the SWAC with 82.6 yards per game.
  • Gibbs, a junior from Houston, Texas, guided Alcorn to a 9-2 record and a SWAC Eastern Division title. He accounted for 29 Braves touchdowns, 18 passing and 11 rushing. He completed 164 of 294 passes for 2,237 yards and ran for 874 yards on 119 carries to help Alcorn score an average of 44.5 points per game.
  • Stafford, a senior from Memphis, Tenn., lead Mississippi Valley State and the SWAC in every receiving category, including receptions (67), receiving yards (1,037) and touchdowns (9). He also returned 26 kickoffs for 407 yards.
  • Bell, a senior from Metairie, La., was a pre-season All-America candidate for Millsaps. He recorded a team-high 17.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in nine games. He also broke up six passes, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble that he returned for 60 yards.

Past winners of the C Spire Conerly Trophy have included such prominent future NFL standouts as Deuce McAllister, Eli Manning, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Patrick Willis, Anthony Dixon and many others. Last year’s winner was Mississippi State offensive lineman Gabe Jackson, now with the Oakland Raiders.

The C Spire Conerly Trophy banquet is nearing a sellout, but still has limited seating for the Dec. 2 program at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The second annual Kent Hull Trophy also will be presented to the top college offensive lineman in Mississippi at the event. A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by the 6:30 p.m. dinner program. Coaches and finalists from all the schools are expected to attend. For ticket availability or more information, call 601.982.8264.

Now in its 19th year, the Conerly Trophy presented by C Spire is named after the late Charlie Conerly – the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was an All-American at a Mississippi university, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship. C Spire has sponsored the outstanding player awards program for all major college sports in Mississippi since 1998.

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