(STATS) - Samford finished in a tie for second place in the Southern Conference, but perhaps the league's hottest team heading into the playoffs also features its two best players.
Junior quarterback Devlin Hodges repeated as the SoCon's offensive player of the year while junior lineman Ahmad Gooden was named the defensive player of the year Tuesday in voting conducted by the conference's nine coaches.
Hodges followed his 4,000-yard sophomore campaign with 3,592 yards in the regular season and threw 30 touchdown passes for the second straight year, guiding the Bulldogs to an 8-3 overall record and six wins in their final seven conference games. He's a finalist for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, given to the offensive player of the year, while Gooden is a finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, given to the subdivision's premier defensive player. Gooden finished the regular season with 98 tackles, good for sixth in the league, and was second with 15 1/2 tackles for loss and tied for fourth with 5 1/2 sacks.