It eluded him last year, but not this year.
North Carolina A&T’s star running back Tarik Cohen was voted BOXTOROW Offensive Player of the Year. The 5-6, 173-pound Cohen was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year for the third-straight year and finished fifth in the Walter Payton voting for the best offensive player in FCS.
The Bunn, N.C. native leads the MEAC in rushing yards and is third in the FCS in rushing (1,588), and is second in FCS in rushing touchdowns (18). Earlier this year he became the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher. Cohen was the 2013 BOXTOROW Rookie of the Year.
South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard was voted BOXTOROW Willie Davis Defensive Player of the Year.
Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs and North Carolina Central head coach Jerry Mack were voted BOXTOROW Co-Coaches of the Years. Fobbs won the award outright last year.
Southern return specialist Willie Quinn was named special teams player of the year for the second-straight year.
Grambling State quarterback DeVante Kincade was awarded the BOXTOROW Impact Player Award.
Leonard, a senior from Lake View, S.C., leads the MEAC and is sixth in FCS in tackles (124). He is also fourth in the MEAC in tackles for loss (14.5) and is tied for the lead in the MEAC in forced fumbles (4). His biggest game of the year was against Clemson when he registered 19 tackles.
Bentley, a true freshman from Guntersville, Ala., was named SWAC Rookie of the Year and second team All-SWAC. He finished fourth in the SWAC in rushing (851) and tied for third with nine rushing touchdowns, while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Quinn, one of the best multi-purpose players in the country, had 19 kickoff returns for 501 yards, averaging 26.4 yards per return. He also returned eight punt returns for 196 yards and a touchdown.
In his third season, Fobbs has led the Tigers to a 10-1 record, a perfect 9-0 record in the SWAC and to their first SWAC championship since 2011. His Tigers will face off against Mack’s Eagles in the Celebration Bowl on Saturday which will decide the HBCU national championship. Also in his third season, Mack has led NCCU to a 9-2 mark, 8-0 in MEAC play and its first MEAC championship since 1973.
The SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, Kincade leads the SWAC and is third in FCS in passing efficiency (172.8). He has the best touchdown to interception ratio in FCS (30-3). The junior from Dallas, Texas also leads the SWAC in passing yards (2,873), completion percentage (65.5) and total offense (283.2). He Passed for over 300 yards in a game three times. Including passing for over 400 yards twice.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2016 Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T
2015 Johnathan Williams, Grambling State
2014 John Gibbs, Jr., Alcorn State
2013 Dray Joseph, Southern
2012 Kameron Smith, Winston-Salem State
2011 Casey Therriault, Jackson State
2010 Frank Warren, Grambling State
2009 Will Ford, South Carolina State
2008 Will Ford, South Carolina State
2007 Jacary Atkinson, Tuskegee
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2016 Darius Leonard, South Carolina State
2015 Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
2014 Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
2013 Darnell Evans, Shaw
2012 Brandon Thurmond, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
2011 Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M
2010 Kenrick Ellis, Hampton
2009 Christian Anthony, Grambling
2008 Marcellus Speaks, Jackson State
2007 Zach East, Prairie View A&M
COACHES OF THE YEAR
2016 Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State and Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central
2015 Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State
2014 Jay Hopson, Alcorn State
2013 Rod Reed, Tennessee State
2012 Connell Maynor, Winston-Salem State
2011 Connell Maynor, Winston-Salem State
2010 Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman
2009 Henry Frazier, Prairie View A&M
2008 Rod Broadway, Grambling State
2007 Al Lavan, Delaware State
ROOKIE/NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
2016 Jordan Bentley, Alabama A&M
2015 Dorrel McClain, North Carolina Central/Hakeem Holland, Virginia Union
2014 Austin Howard, Southern
2013 Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T
2012 Damon Gresham Chisholm, Howard
2011 Greg McGhee, Howard
2010 Casey Therriault, Jackson State
2009 Ari Johnson, Grambling State
2008 Greg Dillon, Grambling State
2007 Frank Warren, Grambling State
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2016 Willie Quinn, Southern
2015 Willie Quinn, Southern
2016 DeVante Kincade, Grambling
2015 Lenorris Footman, Alcorn State