Edgard’s Joseph takes top gridiron honor in Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008

CLARKSDALE — Millsaps College senior quarterback and All-American hopeful Juan Joseph capped a stellar four-year career with an unforgettable honor on Dec. 2, as he was named the recipient of the 2008 Cellular South Conerly Trophy as the best college football player in the state of Mississippi.

Up against incredible odds, Joseph won the prestigious award over a pair of projected NFL first-round draft choices from Ole Miss, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and offensive tackle Michael Oher.

“This feels great,” Joseph said after the announcement. “I’m just happy. I can’t even put it into words.”

Although two players from Division II Delta State have won the award, Joseph is the first player from the Division III level to win in the trophy’s 13-year existence.

A senior from Edgard and a former state championship winning West St. John quarterback, Joseph led Millsaps to an 11-1 record this season. The Majors were ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in both the D3football.com and AFCA polls and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, where the Majors lost 35-20 last Saturday to Washington and Jefferson College.

Joseph led Millsaps in rushing with 76 carries for 412 yards and four touchdowns and he completed nearly 68 percent of his passes (301-for-445), for 3,463 yards, 32 TDs and only six interceptions.

A panel of about 60 media representatives around the state voted on the award, which was handed out following a ceremony at Clarksdale Country Club in front of 200-plus in the hometown of Charlie Conerly, the former Ole Miss quarterback for whom the award is named.

He beat out a pair of future NFL players — defensive tackle Peria Jerry and offensive tackle Michael Oher, both of Ole Miss.

He is the first quarterback to win the award since Ole Miss’ Eli Manning won it in 2003.