Seven Blue Hose earned honors being named to the Phil Steele 2020 Preseason All-Independent Team as announced on Friday. The publication also announced its FCS All-American teams and senior linebacker Colby Campbell was named to the fourth team defense.
Campbell is the first Blue Hose to earn All-American honors since 2011 when Justin Bethel earned the honors from three different publications (Sports Network, College Sports Journal and Phil Steele FCS Magazine).
The senior was joined by wide receiver Keith Pearson, offensive lineman Ethan Williams, defensive lineman Tanner Wilhelm, defensive backs Rod Haygood and Jeffrey Smyth and punt returner Mack Simmons who were all named to the first team all-independent conference team.
Campbell also was named the preseason defensive player of the year by the publication.
Colby Campbell, LB (4th Team All-American, 1st Team All-Independent, Preseason Independent Defensive Player of the Year)
In 2019, Colby Campbell rewrote the Blue Hose career record book as he played and started in all 12 games while totaling a Big South single-season tackle record with 150 stops. Campbell also totaled a team-high 16.5 tackles for loss and a D1 program record nine sacks. He added four pass breakups, an interception and forced fumble during the 2019 campaign. Campbell recorded 10 games with at least 10 tackles which includes a single-game D1 program record 20 tackles against Kennesaw State. He opened the 2020 campaign with 13 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss against Mercer, while following it up with 12 tackles against Jacksonville. Campbell filled the stat page up against Eastern Kentucky with 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He concluded the 2020 regular season with 16 tackles against Charleston Southern and 17 stops against St. Andrews. In the game against St. Andrews, Campbell added three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss as well. He paced the Big South with 12.5 tackles per game, and led the league with 12.8 tackles per game in league contests. He ranked third in all of FCS with 12.5 tackles per game. Following the 2019 season he was named to the first-team Big South All-Conference team as voted on by league coaches.
Keith Pearson, WR (1st Team All-Independent)
Pearson led the Blue Hose in receiving yards with 777, which sits second in the Blue Hose DI single-season record book. He had 71 catches for 777 yards and three touchdowns on the year. He set the single-season record in Presbyterian's DI record book for catches with 71 grabs. Pearson finished tied for first in the Big South in receptions, tied for first in receptions per game, fifth in receiving yards and sixth in yards per game. He became the seventh player in Presbyterian's DI history to record 1,000 receiving yards and the eighth player to eclipse 100 career catches. He had seven games with at least five catches, while also recording three 100 yard games. He had 116 yards on eight catches at Hampton, while following that up with nine catches for 129 yards against Charleston Southern. In the Blue Hose season finale against St. Andrews, Pearson recorded a career-high 10 catches for 138 yards while picking up his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
Rod Haygood, DB (1st Team All-Independent)
In 2019, Haygood played in 10 games while starting in nine contests in the PC secondary. He totaled 39 tackles to go along with a team-high three interceptions and was tied for the team lead with four pass breakups. He totaled a career-high seven tackles and interception against Eastern Kentucky. In the season-opener against Mercer he totaled five tackles, an interception and pass breakup. He recorded six tackles against Merrimack and added five tackles against North Alabama. Haygood had five games with at least four tackles.
Ethan Williams, OL (1st Team All-Independent)
Williams played in 11 games during the 2019 season while making 10 starts, seven of those starts came at left tackle with two at right tackle and one at right guard. The Blue Hose offensive line helped PC's rushing attack average 131.2 yards per game throughout the 2019 campaign. The Blue Hose backfield totaled four 100-yard rushing games (Jarius Jeter x3, Zola Davis).
Tanner Wilhelm, DL (1st Team All-Independent)
The Fyffe, Alabama native played in all 12 games last season, while making eight starts on the Presbyterian defensive line. Wilhelm totaled 53 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss and four sacks, while adding a forced fumble, quarterback hurry, pass breakup and blocked kick. He recorded a pair of contests with seven tackles against both Campbell and Hampton, while adding six stops against North Alabama. Wilhelm totaled a pair of sacks in games against Campbell and Gardner-Webb. He also added a forced fumble and quarterback hurry against Charleston Southern and recorded a blocked kick at Hampton.
Jeffrey Smyth, DB (1st Team All-Independent)
Smyth played in all 12 games during his freshman year, while making six starts. Smyth totaled 63 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, one interception and three pass breakups. He finished second amongst freshman defensive backs in the Big South with his 63 stops in 2019. Smyth recorded three games with 10+ tackles including a season-high 13 tackles along with a tfl and interception against Gardner-Webb which netted him the Big South Freshman of the week honors following the 24-14 victory against Gardner-Webb. He also had 11 tackles against Kennesaw State and 10 stops against Merrimack.
Mack Simmons, PR (1st Team All-Independent)
During his freshman campaign, Simmons played and started in all 12 games as he recorded 36 catches for 304 yards, while also picking up six kick returns for 79 yards and a team-high eight punt returns for 56 yards. Simmons had a season-high five catches against Eastern Kentucky and recorded a season-high 56 yards receiving in a 24-14 victory against Gardner-Webb. He recorded at least one catch in all 12 games during the 2019 season. He recorded a season-high six punt return in the Blue Hose season finale against St. Andrews.