Seven Football Chants get All-Sun Belt recognition
Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Sun Belt with 12.0 tackles per contest in league games, while ranking second overall with 10.1 stops per game – two-tenths behind the overall league leader. Despite missing two-plus game due to injury early in the season, the senior became just the sixth Chanticleer with at least 100 tackles in a season, finishing with 101 and joining the likes of Quinn Backus (three times), Jamar Leath (two times), Mike McClure, Andrae Jacobs and Maurice Simpkins. Johnson was named the team’s Defensive MVP twice in 2017. First, in his return to lineup versus Georgia State after the injury, he compiled a then career-high 12 tackles. Three weeks later versus Texas State, he tallied a career-high 19 tackles, one shy of the CCU single-game record.
A CCU graduate in communication (May 2017) and member of the Team Leadership Council, Johnson either lead the team or was second on the team in tackles in his final eight games, including a team-best 12 tackles versus Georgia State, nine at Arkansas State, nine at Appalachian State, a career-high 19 versus Texas State, seven at Arkansas, a team-best 11 versus Troy, a team-best 11 tackles at Idaho and a team-best 13 in his finale versus Georgia Southern. Even though Johnson has only played 31 career games, Johnson ranks seventh on the CCU career tackles list with 212.
Abercrombie (Greenwood, S.C.) secured his spot on the All-Sun Belt team with a 133-yard, two-touchdown effort in the season finale versus Georgia Southern. Also bolstering his resume, Abercrombie was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after the season-opening win over UMass as he rushed for 149 yards on 17 attempts with two touchdowns. However, over the next three games, he had just 31 rushes for 111 yards (3.6 avg) with no TDs. He got back on track as he was tabbed the team’s Offensive MVP at Arkansas State thanks to a 55-yard run on the first play and finishing with 102 yards on 10 attempts.
A CCU graduate in public health (May 2017) and member of the Team Leadership Council, Abercrombie finished his career among the CCU career leaders despite spending three seasons as the backup to All-American and current Denver Bronco De’Angelo Henderson. Abercrombie stands fourth on the school’s all-time list for rushing touchdowns (22), fifth in rushing yards (1,922), 10th in all-purpose yards (2,372) and 10th in points scored (138).
Williams (Shreveport, La.) only caught two passes for 17 yards last season, but broke through in 2017 to lead the Chanticleers in receptions (43), receiving yards (793) and receiving touchdowns (seven). The junior finished with 1,093 all-purpose yards (793 receiving, 73 rushing, eight punt returns, 219 kick returns) to rank eighth on the CCU single-season list. Also, his 18.44 yards per catch ranks second on the CCU single-season list while he ranks sixth on the CCU seasonal chart in receiving yards, seventh in receiving touchdowns and ninth in receptions.
Williams, like Abercrombie, closed the season in fine fashion to secure postseason honors. Versus Georgia Southern, he had four receptions for 120 yards, including touchdowns of 67 and 37 yards. Williams opened league play with a record-setting performance at UL Monroe and was named the team’s Offensive MVP. He set the CCU record and had the second-best, single-game effort in Sun Belt history with 266 receiving yards on nine receptions – one shy of the CCU single-game record. He also scored an 86-yard receiving TD to tie for second longest pass play in CCU history. He added a two-point conversion to accompany his two touchdowns on the day. For the game, Williams had receptions for 86, 13, 23, 27, 47, 5, 38, 10 and 20 yards. He was also the team’s Offensive MVP at UAB. Williams just missed the 100-yard plateau at Arkansas as he caught seven passes for 96 yards and a TD.
Rabon (Florence, S.C.) averaged 43.16 yards per punt to shatter the CCU single-season record. In fact, he is the first Chant to average over 40 yards per punt for a season. He was the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week twice (at Appalachian State and at Idaho) and the team’s Special Teams MVP for the UMass, Texas State and Arkansas games. He had at least one 50-yard punt in seven straight games and finished with a CCU-record 13 punts going at least 50 yards this season.
His first Sun Belt weekly honor came at App State when he averaged 54.7 yards on three punts and made all three field goal attempts. Helping his average was a school record 65-yard punt while his other two punts went for 51 and 48 yards. Then, at Idaho, Rabon made field goals of 52 and 34 yards to secure CCU’s 13-7 win and averaged 40 yards on his four punts —3 fair catches and one downed on Idaho eight. Early in the season, Rabon booted a then CCU record 59-yard punt at ULM. Of his 135 career punts as 50 have been fair caught and 50 have pinned opponents inside their own 20 and just five have gone for touchbacks.
A member of the Team Leadership Council, Rabon also served as CCU’s placekicker and made two, 52-yard field goals which are the second-longest kicks made in CCU history (one yard behind the CCU record).
Carter (Monroeville, Ala.) led the team with 69 knockdown blocks (team leader for entire 2016 season was 29 by Adam Lawhorn and second-most for 2017 was 45). The redshirt freshman was additionally the team’s top-graded offensive line six times in 12 games, including the UMass, UAB, Texas State, Troy, Idaho and Georgia Southern games. Carter tallied 12 knockdown blocks at ULM alone and had nine at Arkansas. In his collegiate debut versus UMass, he had eight of the team’s 18 knockdown blocks. In addition to his blocking for Abercrombie, he helped CCU average 14.4 yards per completion, which is second in the school’s season record book.
Kelly (Mount. Airy, Md.) ranked third on the team in tackles (75) despite missing the Texas State due to injury and his 6.8 tackles per game ranked 16th in the Sun Belt. A four-time game captain and member of the Team Leadership Council, Kelly had a season-high 12 tackles versus Georgia Southern. He led the team in tackles twice (eight at UAB and 11 at ULM) and was credited with nine tackles in his collegiate debut versus UMass.
Jones (Coatesville, Pa.) saw his numbers suffer a little after missing two games early in the season due to injury. While he only caught 26 passes for 536 yards with four touchdowns, Jones set a CCU record with an average of 20.62 yards per reception, breaking his own mark of 18.3 set in 2015 when he was named second team All-Big South as both a receiver and punt returner. His best game of 2017 came in a near upset at Arkansas as he hauled in four passes for 106 yards (receptions of 43, 22, 31 and 10 yards) and a touchdown to be named the team’s Offensive MVP.
A CCU graduate in communication (December 2016) and member of the Team Leadership Council, Jones set the CCU career record by averaging 17.73 yards per reception while ranking fifth in career receiving yards (1,460), eighth in career receptions (88) and eighth in receiving TDs (10). Jones additionally ended his career as the CCU record holder n career yards per punt return (10.72) while ranking second in career punt returns (57) and second in punt return yards (611). Jones was not limited to big plays as a receiver and punt returner as he finished his career with 10 career TD receptions, one career rushing TD, completing one TD pass, completing 3-of-3 2-point conversion attempts, catching a 2-point conversion and rushing for a 2-point conversion.