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CCU’s Heiligh, Likely named to 2021 Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list

Coastal Carolina seniors earn national preseason honor
CCU's Jaivon Heiligh and Isaiah Likely
CCU's Jaivon Heiligh and Isaiah Likely(Coastal Carolina Athletics)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation, Inc., the Florida-based creator and sponsor of the prestigious Biletnikoff Award, has released the 2021 Biletnikoff Award Preseason watch list which includes two Chanticleers in seniors Jaivon Heiligh and Isaiah Likely.

The Biletnikoff Award annually recognizes the college football season’s outstanding FBS receiver. Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award.

A 2020 All-Sun Belt first-team selection and named to the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt All-Conference first team last season, Heiligh picked up Preseason All-Sun Belt first-team honors his senior season. Also named to the 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football Preseason All-Sun Belt first team and both the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason SBC All-Conference and 2021 Athlon Sports Preseason first teams as a wide receiver and fourth teams as a punt returner, Heiligh looks to build on a career year in 2020.

A Biletnikoff Award watch list member last season in which he hauled in his 100th career reception and surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards, the Florida native led the Chants and ranked second in the Sun Belt with 65 receptions on the year. He also led the team and was third in the conference in receiving yards with 998 on the season and totaled 10 receiving touchdowns, which ranked third in the Sun Belt and sixth overall in total touchdowns.

Heiligh hauled in at least one pass in 11 of the 12 games in which he played including a career-high 13 catches in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl which was both a Cure Bowl and CCU single-game record. He also recorded 178 receiving yards in the Cure Bowl which was also a Cure Bowl record and the third-most by a Chant in a single game.

The fourth-year Chant registered four 100-yard receiving games in 2020 and had three games with two touchdown catches. He also returned nine punts for 71 yards on the season, including a career-long 40-yard return versus Georgia Southern.

A two-time All-Sun Belt selection, garnering first-team honors in 2020 and third-team recognition in 2019, Likely will line up for the Chants once again at tight end in 2021 after being named to the 2020 Pro Football Focus (PFF) All-America second team and earning a spot on the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference first team last season.

A 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football Preseason All-America third-team selection and 2021 first-team preseason all-conference pick by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports, Likely has played in 35 games, recording 74 receptions for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns over his three years at CCU.

In 2020, despite playing with an injured foot that required offseason surgery for most of the season, he played in 11 of the 12 games for the Chants on the season, totaling 30 catches for 601 yards and five touchdowns on the season. His 601 receiving yards were eighth in the Sun Belt overall but first among all Sun Belt tight ends, while his average yards per catch of 20.03 yards per reception was first in the Sun Belt and 10th nationally among all players. He caught at least one pass in 10 of the 11 games in which he played and recorded catches of 75, 72, and 57 yards on the season, all three of which were the longest pass plays on the season for CCU’s offense.

The semifinalists, finalists, and award recipient are selected by the highly distinguished Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee, a group of prominent college football journalists, commentators, announcers, Biletnikoff Award winners, and other former receivers.

Foundation trustees do not vote and have never voted. For a list of voters, please see BiletnikoffAward.com/voters.

Receivers are frequently added to the watch list as their season performances dictate. Actual, not potential, performance is the basis for inclusion on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.

The Biletnikoff Award candidate eligibility and voting criteria, transparently explicit and detailed, are available for review at BiletnikoffAward.com/criteria

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