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CCU’s Likely, Strong receive preseason recognition from College Football America

Coastal Carolina duo was named to the Group of 5 Starting Lineup
CCU cornerback D'Jordan Strong and tight end Isaiah Likely.
CCU cornerback D'Jordan Strong and tight end Isaiah Likely.(Coastal Carolina Athletics)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 3:24 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina seniors Isaiah Likely and D’Jordan Strong were both named to the 2021 College Football America Group of 5 Starting Lineup, the publication announced on Sunday. In addition, Likely was named to the 2021 College Football America Preseason Dream Team Starting Lineup.

Likely has already been named to both the 2021 John Mackey Award and Biletnikoff Award Preseason watch lists, as well as the 2021 Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football Preseason All-America third team, the 2021 Preseason All-Sun Belt first team, and both the 2021 Phil Steele and Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt first teams. 

A two-time All-Sun Belt selection, garnering first-team honors in 2020 and third-team recognition in 2019, Likely was named to the 2020 Pro Football Focus (PFF) All-America second team and earned a spot on the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference first team last season despite playing with an injured foot that required offseason surgery for most of the season. 

In 2020, he played in 11 of the 12 games for the Chants on the season, totaling 30 catches for 601 yards and five touchdowns. 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. 

Over his three years at CCU, Likely has played in 35 games, recording 74 receptions for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Strong picks up another preseason accolade after earning Preseason All-Sun Belt first-team honors, as well as being named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team by Pro Football Focus (PFF) College Football, Phil Steele, and Athlon Sports.

Named the 2020 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, Strong made an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Chants and the “Black Swarm” defense in 2020 in which he was also a 2020 All-Sun Belt first-team selection and a member of the 2020 Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference first team. 

In his first season at Coastal last year, Strong played in and started all 12 games in the defensive backfield for the Chants. He ranked second in the Sun Belt and third nationally with five interceptions on the season and totaled seven pass breakups to give him 12 passes defended which were tied for fifth in the league overall. He added 30 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, and forced one fumble on the season. 

Strong was one of just six different players in the Sun Belt to pick up two interceptions in the same game but the only one to do it twice with two picks against both Georgia Southern (Oct. 24) and Appalachian State (Nov. 21). He also returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown to help seal the Chants’ first-ever win over App State.

The 2021 College Football America Yearbook features more than 900 college football teams from the United States and Canada in more than 250 striking, full-color pages. That includes every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). It also includes updates on club football, one-year postgraduate prep/sports academies and Mexican college football, along with dozens of action shots and stadium photos taken by the CFA staff.

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