Bearcats awarded at football banquet

Published 4:02 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

Chad Lunsford, head coach for the Georgia Southern football team, spoke to a packed lunchroom filled with Bearcat players, coaches, family and supporters at the Bainbridge football banquet Tuesday.

Lunsford encouraged the young athletes to put effort into their academics as well as their performances on the football field.

He also spoke about recruiting, pointing to senior Zyon McGee as an example of what hard work and effort can accomplish. McGee signed to play at GSU in December 2017 and will enroll in June.

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“You want to get noticed, but not just by colleges,” Lunsford said. “You want to get noticed by your coach.”

The Bearcat football team was encouraged to make themselves visible on the field, as leaders in the locker room. It’s not just about playing at the next level, it’s also about being the best you can be for the team you play on now.

Bearcat players were given awards for their excellence in academics. To qualify, a student-athlete needed to have a 95 or higher GPA. Freshman Will Beckham, sophomores Wyatt Wilson and Garrett Sigman, junior Ben Mitchell, Brad Mitchell and Caleb Harris and seniors H. Barber, Mark Loeffler, Ben Mulkey and Blake Green each received an academic award.

The Hard Hat Awards, given to players who come to play every day, willing to work wherever or whenever a coach needs them to. Tim Anderson, Terrell Anderson, Rashad Broadnax, Amari Peterson, Courtney Thomas and Tevin McCray were all awarded Hard Hats.

Ten players were given the Most Improved award: Darius Adams, Spencer VanHousen, Bowen Dodson, Jacob McLaughlin, Ben Mitchell, Markel Broadnax, Trajan Harris, Roman Harrison, Fred Thompson and Michael Ryan.

Randy Fillingame, Caleb McDowell and Aaron Spivie were given the Iron Man awards, handed to the players that bring a do-it-all attitude to practice every day.

The Tommy Smith Hustle Award, given to a player who demonstrates the same qualities of character, leadership, academic achievement and hustle that Thomas Livingston Smith, Jr. demonstrated, was earned by Ben Mulkey.

Four players were given the Bearcat Award. To earn the award, a player must have passion and pride in what they do, be dependable, accountable and valuable, give great effort and never give up, have confidence and an expectation to win, and do right, the Bearcat way. Hudson Barber, Ben Mulkey, Mark Loeffler and Darius Adams all earned the Bearcat Award.

The 2018 graduating class was recognized for having the best four-year record in program history, 32-16, while also making the second round of the playoffs for three years in a row. The class includes: Darius Adams, Zion Andrews, Hudson Barber, Markel Broadnax, Iran Brown, Montavis Buggs, Travis Campbell, Blake Green, Trajan Harris, TaZion Hines, John Kirkus, Mark Loeffler, Zyon McGee, Devin Morris, Ben Mulkey, La’Derrick Murphy, Dameon Pierce, Zechariah Pollard, Braxton Randall, Josh Smith, Tre Storey, Spencer VanHousen and LaDerrick Williams.