The year in sports in Mississippi regarding college sports is still ongoing, with baseball and softball in the competition. While those sports are still playing, the annual award ceremony for the best college player in baseball, basketball, and football will be awarded on May 24th at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Several Bulldogs are finalists in all but one sport.
Why Emmanuel Forbes should win the Conerly Award
Emmanuel Forbes is the starting corner opposite Martin Emerson. When Forbes signed with Mississippi State, I felt he had the talent to join a list of great corners in Mississippi State history. Forbes had one of the best true freshman seasons by a Bulldog corner in history.
Forbes led the SEC with 5 interceptions and ran three back for touchdowns. Forbes shares the career record with Banks, Broomfield, and Pegues. The season record, including the bowl game, is his all too himself. Forbes has three more seasons if he plays to the end of his eligibility to pad his career record.
Forbes was a bright spot on a defense where Mississippi State football is in a state of transition under Mike Leach. Quarterbacks tested Forbes playing opposite Martin Emerson, and they paid the price. The impact Forbes made as a true freshman is why I feel he should win the Conerly as the best college football player in Mississippi.
Forbes may not win the award, but he definitely earned his way to being selected as a finalist. I expect him to continue to be a thorn in SEC quarterbacks’ sides until it is time for him to head to the NFL. If he continues to produce like he did his freshman season, Forbes could become the greatest cornerback in Mississippi State history.
Why D.J. Stewart Jr. should win the Howell Award
D.J. Stewart entered this season as the lead Bulldog on a team that lost two NBA draft picks. The Bulldogs were picked to finish 12th in the SEC and ended up finishing 9th.
Stewart led his team to the NIT championship this season falling to Memphis. After the season, Stewart declared for the NBA draft and has hired an agent, so his days in Maroon and White are over.
Stewart started every game for the Bulldogs and averaged 16 points creating a dangerous trio with Iverson Molinar and Tolu Smith. As he stepped into the leadership role, Stewart’s leadership is why he should win the Howell award.
It would be a nice send-off for Stewart to end his career being named the top college basketball player in Mississippi.
Why Tanner Allen or Landon Sims should win the Ferris Award
Two Bulldogs are up for the Ferris award, and both are very deserving. The Bulldogs are currently ranked #3 in the nation, and Tanner Allen and Landon Sims are two reasons for the team’s success. Allen leads the Bulldogs in several categories and is near the top in many others. Allen bats .388, with 48 RBIs, and 8 homeruns. Allen also has the most hits this season with 73.
Sims has been dominant all season. He has allowed only two runs all season and has racked up 67 strikeouts. Sims also has 7 saves and three wins, and his S-ERA is 0.53.
Why Ameysha Williams should win the Gillom Award
This one should be easy for Bulldog fans because we don’t want an Ole Miss Rebel to win it! Another reason Bulldog fans should root for Ameysha Williams is that she is a former Lady Bulldog. Williams averaged 3 points a game during the 2016-2017 season with a season-high of 15 against Troy.
Williams transferred to Jackson State, where she plays for my good friend Tomekia Reed. Williams has been a force for the Lady Tigers, leading them to back-to-back SWAC titles.
I spoke with Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director Bill Blackwell, and he confirmed that this is the first time there has been a finalist for the Gillom from an HBCU. Williams is joined by her teammate Dayzsha Rogan, the reigning SWAC Player of the year, so JSU is making some history with the first-ever two finalists from an HBCU.
Mississippi State’s historical award dominance
Mississippi State has dominated all four of the top college player in Mississippi awards. Mississippi State has won 9 Conerly, 7 Ferris, 8 Howell, and 9 Gillom awards. The Bulldogs also dominate the Hull trophy with 4 winners out of the 7-year history.
This will be the first time in 6 seasons that a Lady Bulldog has not taken home the Gillom. That reality has to sting for Bulldog fans, but Bulldog fans can revel that they beat out a Rebel for the honor if Williams or Rogan wins it.
I feel Forbes will have a hard time edging out Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore for the Conerly. D.J Stewart should win the Howell. The Bulldogs and Rebels both have chances in the Ferris, but with the Bulldogs having the better season, one of the good guys should take home the hardware.
I am pulling for Williams or Rogan to win the Gillom. I am sure we all can agree that we do not want an Ole Miss Rebel to win any award.