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CCU’s Jackson, Kelly named 2020-21 CoSIDA academic All-Americans

Chant duo were both named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America first team
CCU’s Tarron Jackson and Silas Kelly.
CCU’s Tarron Jackson and Silas Kelly.(Coastal Carolina Athletics)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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AUSTIN, Texas – Coastal Carolina football student-athletes Tarron Jackson and Silas Kelly were both named to the 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division I football first team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), it was announced on Monday.

The pair become just the sixth and seventh Chanticleers to earn the distinguished academic All-America honor, joining two-time recipient Josh Hoke (2005 and 2006), Marcus Lott (2011), Alex Ross (2015), and Jonathan Clayton (2019).

The duo also becomes just the second and third CCU football student-athletes to be named the first team, joining Hoke who picked up first-team honors in 2005 and 2006.

To be eligible, a student-athlete has to have been named to the 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-District football team, recorded a 3.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA), and have played in over 50 percent of the team’s games on the season.

A 2020 Senior CLASS second-team All-American and member of the 2021 National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society, Jackson picks up his first CoSIDA Academic All-America honor. A May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Jackson became just the seventh Chanticleer in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft, going in the sixth round (191st overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft.

A consensus All-American in 2020, with his first-team honors from the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of American (FWAA), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF), Jackson also picked up All-American honors from ESPN (first team), the Reese’s Senior Bowl (first team), the Phil Steele Publication (first team), Sporting News (second team), and CBS Sports/247Sports (second team) this postseason.

Tabbed the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Jackson was named to the All-Sun Belt first team for the second-straight season (2019 and 2020) and was named a finalist for the Lombardi Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was also a Bednarik Award semifinalist, a William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, and earned a spot on the Ted Hendricks Award watch list.

In 2020, Jackson led the team and was second in the Sun Belt in sacks with 8.5 on the year. He also led the Chants and was third in the league in tackles-for-loss with 14.0 despite seeing double-teams on over 60 percent of the snaps he played on the year. He was also tied for second in the Sun Belt with three forced fumbles on the year while also adding 54 total tackles, 18 quarterback hurries, and one fumble recovery to his resume for 2020.

Jackson concluded his career at Coastal as the program’s career leader in sacks (26.5), tackles-for-loss (44.5), quarterback hurries (34), yards lost from sacks (176), and yards lost from tackles-for-loss (227).

He played in 48 games, totaling 195 tackles while also recording six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and three pass breakups in his five years at CCU.

Kelly picked up his first CoSIDA Academic All-America honor as well, as he graduated with a degree in both exercise and sport science and business management in December 2020 and is working towards his MBA. Named one of three national 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award winners last season, Kelly was also named to the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference second team and earned a spot on the 2020 All-Sun Belt second team.

In 2020, the Maryland native played in all 12 games on the season, starting 11 contests, and was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 21 following the win over Campbell (Sept. 18). He led Coastal Carolina with 80 tackles and added 6.5 tackles-for-loss, 5.0 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery on the season. His 5.0 sacks were tied for eighth in the Sun Belt, while his 80 total stops were ninth in the conference on the year.

A 2021 first-team preseason all-conference pick by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports, as well as a Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list member, Kelly returns to the Teal for his final season on the gridiron in 2021. The super senior linebacker has played in 36 games over his career at CCU, totaling 230 tackles, 16.0 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one interception.

Last season, the Chants won the program’s first-ever Sun Belt Conference title, posted an 11-1 overall mark, including an 8-0 Sun Belt Conference record, and went to the program’s first-ever FBS postseason bowl game.

The 2020 season marked Coastal Carolina’s first-ever undefeated regular season and the first time that the Chanticleers were ranked in either the Associated Press Top 25 Poll or the Amway Coaches Poll presented by USA Today Sports.

The Chanticleers posted two wins over FBS top 25 nationally-ranked opponents, the first two such victories in program history, four wins over top 50 opponents, and was ranked as high as No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 11 in the Amway Coaches Poll, both Sun Belt Conference records. The Chanticleers were also ranked as high as No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings, also a Sun Belt record.

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