STATESBORO — Jerick McKinnon was named the most valuable player for Georgia Southern’s football team Saturday during the team’s postseason banquet in Statesboro.
The program presented its four team awards, the Iron Works Dedication Award, and recognized All-Southern Conference and current All-America accolades along with numerous media honors.
McKinnon was named MVP for the second straight year, and senior Kyle Oehlbeck was selected as the winner of the Erk Russell Award.
McKinnon, who scored the game-winning touchdown in the Eagles’ 26-20 win over Florida, had a game-high 125 rushing yards against the Gators for his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season. The Marietta native posted his second-straight 1,000-yard rushing season and finished his career with 3,899 rushing yards for third on Georgia Southern’s all-time list, behind Adrian Peterson and Jermaine Austin.
With 6.75 yards of total offense per play during his career, McKinnon tied Ricky Harris for fourth in that statistical category and ranks fifth with a 6.30 rushing yards per-attempt average through his four years. His 42 career rushing touchdowns placed him in a tie with Ernest Thompson for sixth all-time as an Eagle. McKinnon also was a repeat winner of the Iron Works Dedication Award, claiming that honor for the third time.
Oehlbeck, who disrupted the Gator offense and had seven tackles by halftime, finished his career with 17 tackles for loss, including nine in 2013. He had his highest tackles total with 84 this season.
Two freshmen were selected as the top scouts of the year by their teammates. Myles Campbell, a running back from Duluth, was voted as the offensive scout-team player of the year, while defensive back Kel Parham, from Powder Springs, was selected as the defensive scout-team player of the year.
An annual tradition, each of the 2013 seniors were presented with their home blue Georgia Southern jersey framed with a photo of themselves on the playing field and an image of Paulson Stadium. The jerseys lined the entranceway to the banquet while the seniors’ helmets lined the stage. The seniors honored were William Banks, Robert Brown, Johnathan Bryant, Dorian Byrd, Carlos Cave, Luke Cherry, Josh Gebhardt, Torrance Hunt, Allen Lee, Zach Lonas, Javonte Martin, Jerick McKinnon, Bryant Meeks, Javon Mention, Kyle Oehlbeck, George Osunde, Blake Riley, Josh Rowe, Darius Safford, Michael Shealy, Mike Spaulding and Lavelle Westbrooks.
Through the end of the season, Georgia Southern had eight rankings in the top 25 of the NCAA national statistics, including top rankings in rushing offense and yards per completion. In the Southern Conference statistics, the Eagles held the No. 1 spot in nine categories and ranked in the top three of 16 categories. GSU’s 576 rushing yards against Savannah State was the top single-game total in the nation and ranked as the eighth-best single-game total in program and SoCon history.
The 576 rushing yards ranked as the top performance in a season opener, the 651 yards of total offense is listed eighth all-time for Georgia Southern. The Eagles’ 429 rushing yards at Florida was the fourth-highest total ever posted in the Gator program history.
Additional national awards and media honors will be announced in the coming weeks.