ECU’s Wilson earns another award
Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — C.J. Wilson may need a bigger sack.
The East Carolina junior defensive end, a former star at Northside High School, continues to rake in the awards. After earning Conference USA First Team honors by league coaches and by Phil Steele Magazine last week, ECU’s sack-leader picked up another award Monday.
Wilson was named the C-USA Defensive Most Valuable Player by Sporting News Magazine.
Wilson’s head coach, Skip Holtz, was named the C-USA Coach of the Year by Sporting News Magazine.
Holtz, who recently turned down an offer to become Syracuse’s next head coach, has led the Pirates to a 9-4 record. The Pirates won their first C-USA championship, and will be playing Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2.
Wilson, who wears No. 95, leads the Pirates with 10.5 sacks (for 61 yards in loss) and 18.5 tackles-for-loss (for 84 yards). He also has 64 tackles, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
The 6-4, 270-pound Wilson ranks among the NCAA active leaders in assisted sacks (8th), assisted TFLs (12th), total sacks (12th), total sacks per game (12th) and solo sacks (20th).
Wilson’s stellar play helped the Pirates win the C-USA championship. On Sunday, Wilson and his teammates were presented gifts for winning the title.
Among the goodies were a portable PlayStation and game, C-USA championship T-shirt, blanket and watch.
Wilson and the Pirates have one more game to prepare for this season. The affable Wilson can set a new single-season record with a big game against the Wildcats in the Liberty Bowl. If he records three tackles-for-loss, Wilson will surpass Chris Moore (21 tackles-for-loss in 2004) in that category.
Wilson, who was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team two years ago and earned C-USA Second Team honors last year, has flirted with the sack record as well. Roderick Coleman set the single-season record with 15 sacks in 1997.
Coleman holds the career-sack record with 39 (1995-98), while Moore owns the career tackles-for-loss mark with 61 (2002-05).
The Pirates will get a 10-day break for the holidays before returning to the practice field Dec. 26.
Wilson has 35 tackles-for-loss and 21.5 sacks in his career. He also has 127.5 tackles and 21 quarterback hurries in his career.
He’ll look to add to those totals next season. While Wilson could leave for the NFL after his junior season, he has vowed to return to the Pirates.
CONFERENCE USA AWARDS
Offensive MVP: David Johnson, QB, Tulsa
Defensive MVP: C.J. Wilson, DE, East Carolina
Coach-of-the-Year: Skip Holtz, East Carolina
Freshman of the year: DeAndre Brown, WR, Southern Miss