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Nominees announced for 2023 Conerly Trophy

Image courtesy of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

The nominees have been announced for this year’s C Spire Conerly Trophy, given out annually to the top college football player in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame revealed the nominees on Tuesday morning. The winner will be announced as part of a ceremony at the Country Club of Jackson on Nov. 28.

Aaron Allen, Alcorn State quarterback

Allen, a Louisiana Tech transfer and sixth-year player, is finally having his breakout season in Lorman. The Missouri City, Texas native has amassed 2,071 yards in the air, 99 on the ground, and has accounted for 15 total touchdowns.

Kolbe Blunt, Belhaven running back

Leading one of the top rushing attacks in all of Division III, Blunt accounted for 1,230 yards and 17 touchdowns in 10 games for the Blazers. The graduate student out of Mobile, Ala., has been instrumental in helping Belhaven to its first-ever playoff appearance.

Patrick Shegog, Delta State quarterback

A nominee for the Conerly Trophy for the second time in his career, Shegog has put up huge numbers for the playoff-bound Statesmen. The graduate student out of Batesville has passed for 2,194 yards with 25 touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 546 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Irv Mulligan, Jackson State running back

Getting the nod as the Tigers’ primary ball carrier after Sy’veon Wilkerson followed former head coach Deion Sanders to Colorado, Mulligan has hit the ground running this season. The Beaumont, S.C. native has compiled 681 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Ethan Klapatch, Millsaps punter

Klapatch worked off an All-SAA campaign in 2022 to lead the conference this season with an average of 45.8 yards per punt. His long of 67 yards came against Hendrix in week four. The Metairie, La. Native also had 11 punts land inside the 20-yard line.

Marcus Williams, Mississippi College running back

Leading a hefty rushing attack, Williams finished the 2023 campaign with 851 yards and three touchdowns. The Donaldson, La., native also handled kickoff duties for the Choctaws with his special team highlight of the season being a 95-yard touchdown return against Chowan in week eight.

Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State linebacker

Watson, more affectionally called “Bookie,” leads the SEC in sacks with nine on the year. The Maplesville, Ala. native is also second in the conference with 95 total tackles, second to no other than teammate Jett Johnson.

Rodney Luckett, Mississippi Valley State center

Luckett, a senior, has been a staple of the Delta Devils’ offensive line during his time in Itta Bena. The Jackson native has been most effective in delivering snaps to the quarterback and using his 330-pound frame to create gaps for the running game.

Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss running back

Judkins, the reigning Conerly Trophy winner and All-American is on pace to reach over 1,000 yards on the ground for a consecutive season. The Montgomery, Ala. native ranks fourth in the SEC in rushing with 868 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Frank Gore, Jr., Southern Miss running back

Following a slow start to the season, Gore has bounced back in style with over the last three games with over 500 rushing yards. The Miami, Fla., native has 970 yards rushing, 133 yards receiving, and 11 touchdowns on the year.

Caleb Salers contributed to this report.

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