Watchlist season is in full force as the college football season is just days away.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced its watchlist for the 2022 C Spire Conerly Trophy which is awarded annually to the state’s best college football player.
Previous nominees who once again find themselves on the list are Mississippi Valley State running back Caleb Johnson, Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers, Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Southern Miss defensive back Malik Shorts, and Millsaps wide receiver Moïse Tezzo.
Outside of Rogers and Sanders, quarterbacks to watch for are Ty Keyes of Southern Miss, who is set to enjoy his first full season as the Golden Eagles’ starting signal caller, as well as Delta State’s Cole Kirk. Since head coach Lane Kiffin hasn’t announced who will be under center when the Rebels kick off the season next Saturday, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame went ahead and threw Luke Altmyer, Jaxson Dart, and Kinkead Dent all on the list.
Running Backs/Wide Receivers
Even with the departure of Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss has reloaded at the running back position with TCU transfer Zach Evans headlining the unit. According to the Hall of Fame, it wouldn’t be much of a shock if the former five-star came away with the Conerly Trophy. Ole Miss senior wide receiver and Brandon native Jonathan Mingo also cracked the watchlist. Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr., who has been the team’s leading rusher for the past two seasons, is a player to watch this year. The other two offensive skills players listed were Belhaven running back Kolbe Blunt and Alcorn State running back Niko Duffey.
Surprisingly enough, only one lineman from either Mississippi State or Ole Miss was listed — and it wasn’t preseason All-SEC offensive guard Nick Broeker. The lone SEC lineman to make the list was Mississippi State defensive tackle Nathan Pickering. Other defensive linemen selected were Jalen Bell and Ronnie Thomas, who will be anchoring down the defensive unit in Itta Bena, and Delta State’s Tim Williams. Linebackers chosen were Claudin Cherelus of Alcorn State and Connor Fordham of Belhaven. The only offensive linemen selected for the 2022 Conerly Trophy Watchlist were Belhaven’s Kendrioun Boatman and Mississippi College’s Blane Cannon.
Other Defensive Players
On the defensive side of the ball, transfer Tylan Knight is expected to make an immediate impact for Southern Miss, placing him on the list. Travis Hunter of Jackson State, the No. 1 overall recruit in this past cycle, is a player to watch for. Mississippi Valley State defensive back Caleb Brunson and Mississippi College defensive back Nick Walker also found themselves on the list.
The 2022 C Spire Conerly Trophy will be awarded following the conclusion of the regular season. Founded in 1996, Ole Miss has the most winners with 10.