Coastal Carolina finished atop the East Division of the Sun Belt conference this season with an unblemished conference mark of 8-0, two games ahead of Appalachian State who finished 6-2 in league play. The Chanticleers had 16 players receive Sun Belt all-conference recognition. They had 10 players on the 1st team, three on the 2nd team, and three players on the 3rd team. They also had four players receive an honorable mention.
Here are four important players the Flames need to keep an eye on when Liberty and the Chanticleers meet in the Cure Bowl on Saturday.
Coastal’s quarterback cleaned up the Sun Belt honors on Monday as he was named the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and named to the first team. In his first season as starting quarterback, he had 23 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and led the Sun Belt in passing efficiency at 185.9 on the season. He leads the Sun Belt with 2,170 passing yards and his 69.3% completion percentage ranks second.
Jackson was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and leads the Chanticleers with 8.5 sacks on the season. He also has 13.5 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles to go along with 49 tackles, 18 QB hurries and one fumble recovery. He’s also been named a 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist.
The senior running back leads Coastal with 1,176 all-purpose yards this year – 844 rushing, 220 receiving, and 112 kick return yards. He also has 19 touchdowns. He found the end zone in 10 of 11 games this season, including 7 games with two or more touchdowns. He finished the regular season with three straight 100-yard receiving games and 8 touchdowns over the final three games of the regular season.
Strong was named the Sun Belt’s Newcomer of the Year as he is tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions with 5 on the season. The junior cornerback also has 6 pass breakups and 11 passes defended to go along with his 26 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble as he helps lead a defensive unit that is the top scoring defense in the country.