USM’s Shorts among 2021 Conerly Trophy candidates

Mississippi's top college football player in 2021 to be named from among 10 finalists for the C...
Mississippi's top college football player in 2021 to be named from among 10 finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 11:08 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – The University of Southern Mississippi’s leading tackler was among the finalists for the 2021 Conerly Trophy announced earlier this week.

The Conerly Trophy, named after College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Conerly, who starred for the University of Mississippi and the New York Giants.

Redshirt sophomore defensive back Malik Shorts, a Bassfield native, was selected as the Golden Eagles’ Conerly candidate.

Shorts leads the Golden Eagles with 81 tackles, including two for loss, and has made two interceptions for USM (1-9).

The other nine 2021 C Spire Conerly Trophy finalists, in alphabetical order by school, include:

  • Alcorn State University – Senior defensive back Juwan Taylor, a Jackson Provine High School graduate and the Southwestern Athletic Conference “Defensive Player of the Year” in 2019, has made 58 tackles and recorded an interception for the Braves (5-4, 4-2 SWAC).
  • Belhaven University – Senior running back Brad Foley from Memphis, Tenn., led the Blazers in all-purpose yards, including 1,035 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns; completed 3-of-4 passes; caught 15 passes, including two for touchdowns; returned two punts; the Blazers finished with a 7-3 record, the best single-season win percentage in program history.
  • Delta State University – Redshirt senior linebacker Marvin Terry made 55 tackles (45 solo). His 20 tackles for loss, including 10 sacks, led the Statesmen; best game was against Jackson State University, when he made 11 tackles; had four sacks in a game against Shorter College.
  • Jackson State University – Freshman quarterback Shedeur Sanders, son of former National Football League great and JSU head coach Deion Sanders, completed 220 of 322 passes for 2,674 yards and 25 touchdowns; longest completion was for 74 yards; also ran for three touchdowns, with a long run of 30 yards.
  • Millsaps College – Junior wide receiver Moïse Tezzo led the Majors and the conference in receiving with 36 receptions for 670 yards and seven touchdowns; longest catch went 63 yards; rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown’ amassed 1,067 all-purpose yards, with 223 kickoff return yards, 69 punt return yards; returned one punt for a touchdown.
  • Mississippi College – Linebacker Jonathan Jones, a graduate transfer from USM, is a Charleston, Miss., native who led the Choctaws defense with 77 tackles (58 solo); recorded 4 ½ tackles for loss, incouding three sacks.
  • Mississippi State University – Rogers, a Brandon High School product, has led the Bulldogs and Coach Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense with 407 completions in 538 attempts, accounting for 3,722 yards passing and 29 touchdowns; the sophomore named Walter Camp “Offensive Player of the Week” for his record-setting six touchdown, 415-yard passing performance last weekend against Auburn.
  • Mississippi Valley State University – Running back Caleb Johnson, a Memphis, Tenn., native, led the Delta Devils in rushing; averaged 4.1 yards per carry; totaled 786 yards and six touchdowns; caught eight passes, including one for a touchdown.
  • University of Mississippi – Corral, who has received national attention as a Heisman Trophy candidate, has completed 206 of 309 passes for 2,774 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Rebels (8-2); the redshirt junior ranks as the Rebels’ third-leading rusher with 523 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Past winners of the C Spire Conerly Trophy have included such former and current prominent NFL standouts as Evan Engram, Dak Prescott, Deuce McAllister, Eli Manning, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Patrick Willis, Anthony Dixon and last year’s winner, Elijah Moore.

Prescott and Manning are the only two-time winners of the award.

The trophy’s namesake, Conerly, is the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was All-America at a Mississippi university, a NFL rookie of the year, and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship.

C Spire has sponsored the outstanding player awards program for football in Mississippi since 1998.

The C Spire Conerly Trophy presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Country Club of Jackson, 345 Saint Andrews Drive.

A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by the 6:30 p.m. dinner program and trophy presentation.

Coaches and finalists from all the schools are expected to attend.

For ticket availability or more information, go to or call (601) 982-8264.

CBS football analyst Charles Davis will be the master of ceremonies for the awards program.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.