After leading UT-Martin to a 9-2 record, the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference championship and the school’s first playoff berth since 2006, Skyhawks quarterback Keon Howard was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Year, and head coach Jason Simpson was named OVC Coach of the Year.

Rounding out the yearly superlatives were Austin Peay safety Koby Perry, who was named the OVC Defensive Player of the Year, and Murray State QB D.J. Williams, was tabbed as the OVC Freshman of the Year.

UT-Martin had a league-high 19 All-OVC selections, followed by Austin Peay with 16 and Southeast Missouri with 14.

Perry was the catalyst for a Governors secondary that ended the year with an FCS-leading 19 interceptions and 26 turnovers forced. The junior led APSU in tackles (85), and added eight tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. 

He’s the third Govs player to win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor. Perry is also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is given annually to the best defensive player in the FCS.

The Govs finished with a 6-5 record with notable wins over Chattanooga, Murray State, and Tennessee State. APSU also gave UT-Martin one of its toughest games of the year in a 17-16 loss on Oct. 30.

Tennessee State had 10 All-OVC selections, including four first-teamers. After a 2-5 season in 2020 under former coach Rod Reed, Eddie George turned the Tigers into a 5-6 team this year. TSU had notable conference wins over Austin Peay and Murray State.

Below is a full list of all the Nashville-area All-OVC selections:

All-OVC first team

- Baniko Harley, WR, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 48 receptions, 800 yards, 7 TDs

- Drae McCray, WR, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 53 receptions, 867 yards, 8 TDs

- Eugene Minter, WR, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 23 receptions, 447 yards, 4 TDs

- Rodell Rahmaan, TE, TSU

2021 stats: 30 receptions, 490 yards, 6 TDs

- Bucky Willams, OT, Austin Peay

- Robert Lacey, G, TSU

- James Green, OLB, TSU

2021 stats: 77 tackles, 7 TFL, INT, forced fumble, fumble recovery

- Koby Perry, S, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 85 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 pass break ups, forced fumble

- Johnathon Edwards, CB, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 33 tackles, 7 INTs, 7 pass break ups, 2 fumble recoveries

- Kordell Jackson, CB, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 41 tackles, 7 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 pass break ups

- Dayron Johnson, KR/PR, TSU

2021 stats: averaged 22.5 yards per kick return, 17.3 yards per punt return, TD

All-OVC second team

- Draylen Ellis, QB, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 54.2 completion percent, 2,626 yards, 19 TDs, 1 rushing TD

- Geremy Hickbottom, QB, TSU

2021 stats: 57.6 completion percent, 1,847 yards, 12 TDs, 7 rushing TDs

- Devon Starling, RB, TSU

2021 stats: 800 yards rushing, 4.3 yards per carry, 3 TDs, 37 receptions

- Zaire Thornton, WR, TSU

2021 stats: 26 receptions, 398 yards, 2 TDs

- Colby McKee, G, Austin Peay

- Joe Ware, OT, Austin Peay

- Terray Jones, DT, TSU

2021 stats: 28 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles

- Terrell Allen, DT, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 36 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 sacks, 9 QB hits, forced fumble

- Jack McDonald, ILB, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 71 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 INTs, 6 QB hits, forced fumble, fumble recovery

- Cory Rahman, S, TSU

2021 stats: 65 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 pass breakups, fumble recovery

-Maddux Trujilo, K, Austin Peay

2021 stats: made 14 of 18 FGs, 36 of 38 PATs

- Matt Rigney, P, Austin Peay

2021 stats: averaged 40.7 yards per punt, seven punts of 50+ yards

OVC All- Newcomer Team

- Drae McCray, WR, Austin Peay

2021 stats: 53 receptions, 867 yards, 8 TDs

- Maddux Trujilo, K, Austin Peay

2021 stats: made 14 of 18 FGs and 36 of 38 PATs

- Jeremiah Frazier, C, TSU

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