Concord's Jarod Bowie, Dave Walker earn MEC top honors

Nov. 16—BRIDGEPORT — Junior wide receiver Jarod Bowie of the Concord University football team has been selected as the Mountain East Conference Offensive Player of the Year while head coach Dave Walker has been tabbed the MEC Coach of the Year, the conference office announced Tuesday afternoon.

A total of 10 Mountain Lions landed on the All-MEC Teams as Bowie, graduate defensive lineman Dajor Davenport, senior quarterback Jack Mangel, graduate linebacker Ty Maust and junior running back Thurlow Wilkins made the All-MEC First Team. Senior running back Kris Copeland, junior offensive lineman Bo Rowland and graduate defensive back Michael Sawyer Jr. were All-MEC Second Team selections. Graduate defensive back John Merica and fifth-year senior offensive lineman Davis Roberson were All-MEC Honorable Mention.

Walker was selected MEC Coach of the Year by his peers after guiding Concord to a 9-2 record this fall, a five-win improvement from 2021. The Pineville, West Virginia native had the Mountain Lions on the cusp on the program's first playoff appearance since 2014 as CU finished second in the MEC, a five-spot climb from the conference preseason poll. He becomes the first conference coach of the year in program history since Garin Justice in 2014.

Bowie, the nation's most-prolific receiver, finished the season with 102 receptions for 1,773 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Martinsburg, West Virginia native recorded five games of at least five 200 yards and had five consecutive games of multiple touchdowns, including three games with three touchdowns. He caught at least one touchdown in all but one game this fall. Bowie led Division II in receptions, yards and touchdowns. The next closest pass catcher to Bowie in yards was 1,382 by Xavier Malone of Henderson State. Bowie's receiving yards broke the MEC single-season record while he finished second in touchdowns and receptions. Bowie is the first non-quarterback or running back to win MEC Offensive Player of the Year in league history, dating back to 2013. He is also CU's first MEC Offensive Player of the Year since running back Calvinaugh Jones in 2014.

A former tight end for the Mountain Lions, Davenport became one of the best pass rushers in the MEC over the last two seasons. Davenport tied for third in the MEC this season with 7.5 sacks and his 11 tackles for loss finished in a tie for 10th in the conference. The Clifton Forge, Virginia native had four of his sacks in a three-game stretch against Charleston, Wheeling and Alderson Broaddus. He added a career-best eight tackles versus Wheeling. Davenport wrapped up his career by finishing third in program history with 15.5 career sacks.

The MEC's best offense was led by Division II's best quarterback throughout the regular season, statistically speaking. Mangel threw for 3,667 yards and 39 touchdowns during the regular season as he completed just under 65 percent of his passes. The Athens, Georgia native led Division II in both touchdowns and yards while finishing fourth in total completions (284). Mangel wrapped up the season by tossing for 350 or more yards in six straight games. Among the highlights was a six-touchdown game versus Charleston. Two weeks later, he added seven touchdowns against Wheeling. Mangel's passing yards were the third most in a single season in MEC history.

Maust started all 11 games at the middle linebacker spot for the CU defense. The Roanoke, Virginia native piled up an MEC-best 124 tackles during the regular season as 8.5 went for loss—top 20 in the league. Maust had at least 10 tackles in eight games and tallied a career best 16 tackles at West Virginia State and at UNC-Pembroke. His 124 stops are the fourth most in league history for a single season, and are fifth most in Concord history.

Wilkins finished the regular season as the runner-up in the rushing title behind fellow All-MEC First Team selection Myles Miree of Fairmont State by 12 yards. Wilkins ran for 1,179 yards and 12 touchdowns which were also second in the conference. The six yards that Wilkins averaged per rush ranked third in the MEC. With just one 100-yard rushing game to his name through seven contests, Wilkins broke out for 279 yards and four touchdowns versus Charleston. It led to Wilkins running for 376 yards and five touchdowns in the three weeks following to end the season.

A do-it-all player for the Mountain Lions, Copeland finished second on the team in receptions (52), yards (606) and touchdowns (seven). The Summerville, South Carolina native was top 10 in the MEC in all three major receiving categories. Copeland also rushed for 231 yards and three scores. He proved valuable on special teams with an average of 24.5 yards per kickoff return to go with a touchdown to open the season at Emory & Henry. Four of Copeland's touchdowns for the season came against Wheeling (three receiving, one rushing).

He added two touchdowns and 131 yards versus UC.

Rowland started all 11 games at left tackle for CU as he helped pave the way for an offense that averaged 487.7 yards per game which was not only the best in the MEC, but ranked fifth in Division II. Protecting the blind side of Mangel, the Gatlinburg, Tennessee native was part of an offensive line that surrendered just 14 sacks this season, second fewest in the conference.

Sawyer became the latest lockdown corner in program history. While he didn't record an interception this fall, the Baltimore, Maryland native finished in a tie for fifth in the MEC with 11 pass break-ups. Sawyer played all 11 games at cornerback as he recorded 50 tackles which were the fourth most on the Concord defense.

Roberson, the most veteran player on the Concord offense, was rewarded Tuesday for his persistence. The Blacksburg, Virginia native played in his 39th career game Saturday night at UNC-Pembroke. He started all 11 games at right guard this season as he joined Rowland in leading the way for Concord's best offensive season since 2010.

Despite only playing in seven games, Merica made his impact on the CU defense in his only season in the Maroon and Gray. A former 2019 All-MEC selection at West Virginia Wesleyan, Merica picked up 24 tackles in 2022. Both of his takeaways came at West Liberty when he intercepted a pass, and later picked up a fumble ran it back for a 42-yard touchdown.

Other MEC Award Winners included Notre Dame linebacker Nate Moore (defensive player of the year) Charleston running back Chavon Wright (offensive freshman of the year) and West Liberty defensive lineman Cam Rice (defensive freshman of the year).

The 10 players selected to the All-MEC Teams are the most for Concord since it had 11 honorees in 2015.