Seven Savannah State football players have been named to the 2021 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) All-Conference list, according to a press release from the conference office Monday afternoon.
Following an incredible 8-2 season, many of the playmakers for the Tigers were honored with post-season awards.
Senior offensive lineman Connor Vasher was named to the All-SIAC First Team. Vasher has been key part of the second best rushing offense in the SIAC and 19th best in the NCAA. The Tigers averaged 303.4 yards of total offense this season outscoring their opponents 284-176.
Sophomore wide receiver Einaj Carter, who named the 2019 SIAC Freshman of the Year, made All-SIAC First Team this year as a punt returner. Carter had 18 punt returns for 185 yards. He returned 16 kickoffs for 323 yards, averaging 20.19 a carry. Carter is the No. 1 punt returner in the SIAC and 42nd best in Division II. He is ranked No. 9 in kickoff returns in the SIAC.
Kyle Fraizer, a sophomore offensive lineman, earned a starting role midway through the season this year and was named to the All-SIAC Second Team. Fraizer missed his first year of playing due to a cancer diagnoses. He rang his cancer free bell in August 2019 and returned to the gridiron in his first official collegiate game in the spring of 2021. The 2021 fall season marked his first full year as a Tiger.
Defensive lineman Makenly Newbill was named to the All-SIAC Second Team as well. Newbill, a Valdosta State transfer, made an immediate impact in his first season at Savannah State. The Savannah native helped lead the No. 2 best defense in the SIAC and No. 12 best defense in Division II with 19.0 tackles (9 assist, 10 solo), 9.0 tackles for a loss, 4.0 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries.
Two Savannah State defensive backs were also named to the All-SIAC Second Team, Marvin Grunshie and Ny’em Bozeman.
Grunshie had 32.0 tackles (8 assist, 24 solo), 3.0 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, and 3 breakups in 9 games while Bozeman recorded 27.0 tackles (3 assist, 24 solo), 3.0 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, 4 breakups and 4 blocked kicks. Bozeman is ranked No. 2 in the SIAC and No. 4 in Division II in blocked kicks. He is ranked No. 1 in the SIAC and No. 1 in the NCAA in punt returns for a touchdown with 3.
The Tigers finished the regular season with the No. 3 best rushing defense and were ranked No. 7 in sacks, holding opponents to an average 17.6 points a game.
Freshman Kenneth Lockhart filled both roles as a punter and kicker for the Tigers this year. He was named to the All-SIAC Second Team as a punter. Lockhart was the No. 1 punter in the SIAC (No. 20 in Division II) with 1,806 yards on the season, averaging 42.0 yards a punt. He went 6-for- 10 on field goal attempts, his longest a 44-yarder. On kickoffs, he racked up 3,122 yards, averaging 56.8 per kick with 5 touchbacks.
Savannah State football earned its first 8-win season since 1994 this year. Over the past three seasons, the Tigers have a 10-1 SIAC record and a 16-6 overall record. It’s the best three years in program history since the 1988-1992 run under legendary head coach Bill Davis when the Tigers strung together five winning schedules of at least seven wins each season.
The Tigers were also in the running for the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time since 1992—that team finished 8-4 after losing to eventual champion Jacksonville State in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. The 2021 Tigers were beat out for the No. 7 slot by Lenior-Rhyne on Sunday, concluding their season.