White County’s Matlock one of 7 Sewanee Tigers named All-SAA
By Andy Southard | November 27, 2017 8:25 am
Courtesy of Sewanee Sports
The 2017 Southern Athletic Association has announced on Monday All-Conference postseason awards. Seven Sewanee football players were selected to the postseason award list, while William Phillips was named SAA Newcomer of the Year.
Named a member of the All-SAA Second Team Defense, Phillips was selected as one of the two safeties. He finished with 32 tackles, 22 solo tackles. He also posted five interceptions, tied for third in the SAA and second in return yards with 101.
The freshman made a huge statement in his first collegiate game in Sewanee’s 45-20 victory over Kenyon. With the Lords driving inside the Sewanee five-yard-line, Wesley Porter punched the ball out at the two, and Phillips picked up the pigskin off the turf and ran the ball all the way back to the Sewanee endzone for a 98-yard touchdown, a new school record. He also recorded another fumble in conference play against Hendrix.
On special teams, he returned 13 punts and scored a touchdown on a 66-yard return against Hendrix in Week 5.
Joining Phillips on the list includes two Tigers that were named to the All-SAA First Team Defense: Lee Menefee (defensive back) and John Cleveland (safety), one to the Second Team Offense: John Gaither (offensive line), one as Honorable Mention Offense: James Hewell (tight end) and two as Honorable Mention Defense: Jo Jo Matlock (defensive line) and Wesley Porter (cornerback).
Menefee finished second in the SAA with 95 tackles, 47 solo, and led the SAA with 10.6 tackles per game. 8.5 of his 95 tackles were for a loss. He also forced two fumbles.
Cleveland recorded six of Sewanee’s 21 interceptions in 2017. Leading the conference in the category, these are the most picks in a season since 2008, when Chalankis Brown picked off the quarterback seven times. He finished with 76 tackles, 47 solo and 3.5 for a loss.
Gaither was a key member of the offensive line this season. The Cleveland, Tenn. native helped the offensive line allowed 424 yards per game, 219.5 through the air, good for third in the SAA.
Hewell caught 12 passes for 125 yards in his senior campaign as a tight end. Hewell had one touchdown reception, a 17-yard completion in Sewanee’s 34-13 win at Birmingham-Southern.
Matlock recorded 30 tackles, 10 for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Against Birmingham-Southern in Week 7, he found the quarterback twice, totaling 25 yards. He finished the game with four tackles for a loss, totaling 28 yards.
Porter joined the interception brigade with the Tigers in 2017, catching the opposing quarterback’s pass attempt five times for 65 times. He finished the season with 51 tackles and 11 pass breakups.