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Furman Trio Recognized As Phil Steele All-Americans; All-SoCon Teams Announced

Grayson Atkins
Grayson Atkins

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Three Furman Paladins have been recognized as Phil Steele Magazine Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-Americans, and several Paladins were named to the publication's All-Southern Conference Team, it has been announced.

Sophomore placekicker Grayson Atkins earned second team All-America honors while redshirt freshman Adrian Hope made the All-America fourth team.  In addition, Hope was named to the magazine's Freshman All-America first team while redshirt offensive lineman Bo McKinney garnered a third team freshman squad selection.

A consensus first team All-Southern Conference pick and second team Associated Press All-America choice, Atkins converted 11-of-13 field goals, making his final 11 attempts, including four from 50+ yards.  He was named STATS national special teams player of the week after kicking four field goals, including efforts from 27, 50, 51, and 53 yards, versus Samford on Oct. 20 — the three makes from 50+ yards marking the first time an FCS player registered the feat since 1983.  The SoCon's top multi-purpose specialist, he also served as punter, averaging 42.8 yards per punt, and easily paced the league with 29 touchbacks on 55 kickoffs during the campaign.

Hope, an AP All-America third team pick who finished as the top defender (fourth overall) in balloting for the 2018 STATS Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top freshman in FCS, recorded 32 tackles, 16.5 tackles for-loss, and an FCS leading15.0 sacks for losses of 65 yards.  His five forced fumbles also paced the SoCon and ranked fifth nationally.

McKinney logged four starts at offensive guard and 272 plays in 2018, playing a key role in Furman posting a 6-4 record and winning six of its final seven games to claim a share of the program's 14th SoCon championship.

In addition to its All-America squads, Phil Steele Magazine picked all-conference teams for each FCS league, and Furman enjoyed strong representation on the SoCon unit.

On offense running back Devin Wynn (722 yards, 6 TDs, 6.4 ypc) earned first team accolades and was joined by second team wide receiver pick Thomas Gordon (29 rec., 430 yds., 1 TD) and offensive tackles Bo Layton and Andy Godwin.  Garnering third team honors were running back Corey Watkins (420 yds., 2 TDs, 6.4 ypc)  and tight end Jake Walker (9 rec., 172 yds., 4 TDs).

Defensively Adrian Hope collected first team honors, with nose guard Jaylan Reid (23 tackles, 5 TFL, 3.0 sacks) and safety Aaquil Annoor (43 tackles, 2 INT, 6 PBU) earning second team honors.  Linebacker Elijah McKoy (91 tackles, 6 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 FF, INT) rounded out Furman's picks by landing a spot on the third team.

Furman placed three players on the All-SoCon special teams with Atkins joined on the first team by return specialist Dejuan Bell (25.7 avg., 97-yard KOR TD).  Evan Vaughn was a third team choice at long snapper.

Atkins was named Phil Steele's SoCon Special Teams Player of the Year and Hope accorded SoCon Freshman of the Year.

Hunter Reid, Sports Information