UWA’s Wilson, Hall top conference awards

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

LIVINGSTON – University of West Alabama defensive end Ridge Wilson and head coach Will Hall top a list of 16 Tiger players or coaches selected to receive 2012 All-Gulf South Conference Football Honors.

In addition to Wilson as the unanimous selection as GSC Defensive Player of the Year and Hall as the 2012 GSC Coach of the Year, the Tigers placed 15 players on either first or second team all-conference squads.

Wilson, a senior from Louisville, Ky., is the second consecutive Tiger to earn the defensive player of the year honor, following linebacker Deon Lacey, who claimed the award in 2011. He is the first defensive lineman since 2003 to claim the award. The Harlon Hill Trophy candidate finished the regular season with 52 total tackles, 11 sacks (-65) and 10 tackles for loss (-65). He also recorded five quarterback hurries, forced tow fumbles and recovered one.

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Hall was tabbed GSC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after sharing the award in 2011. In his second year as UWA’s head coach, Hall guided UWA to its first-ever outright Conference Championship, finishing a perfect 5-0 in league play and guiding the Tigers to their second consecutive NCAA Playoff appearance.

Seven Tigers were named as first team All-GSC choices. Running back Matt Willis and guard Andy Nations were selected by league coaches to the first team offense. Wilson, Lacey, cornerback Malcolm Butler and strong safety Otha Foster were named to the first team defense. Record-setting place kicker Ryne Smith rounded out UWA first-team All-GSC choices.

Named to the All-GSC second team offense were quarterback Gary Johnston, wide receiver Chad Toocheck, center Skeeter Sellers and tackle Taylor Burnett. Rounding out second team selections were defensive tackle Willie Packer, punter Jordan Ikner, return specialist Malik Lofton and blocking team member Josh Senkbeil.

GSC coaches select the all-conference team, but coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

The Tigers host Miles College Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs at Tiger Stadium on the UWA campus. Kick off is set for noon. Tickets are available for $10, $5 for students and may be purchased at www.uwaathletics.com or by calling 205-652-3784.