BUENA VISTA, Va. Junior Linebacker Matt Mellor headlines a list of six players recently named to the NAIA All-Independent Teams. Mellor was one of two defensive players the Knights had named to the First Team. The NAIA Independent team encompasses the teams in the NAIA who do not have an affiliation with an established conference. Joining Mellor on the first team was freshman defensive lineman Clark Steele.
Mellor, from Colfax, WA, led the team in tackles with 44 unassisted takedowns, and 34 assisted stops for 78 total on the season. He also pulled down an interception, and led the teams in tackles for loss with 6.5. He also recovered a fumble. Steele, from Quartz Hill, CA, had a strong first season as he finished with 37 total tackles (19 U, 18 A) and led the team in sacks with 5.
"We have had great representation on these teams in the past three years," said Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "As our program continues to grow and improve we will keep having players named to these lists. It's a tremendous accomplishment, and I'm very proud of these guys. They deserved this award."
SVU was well represented on the second team as four players were named to the team. Offensive linemen Tyler Card and Ben Wilson finished their SVU careers by being named to the second team. Card, from Salt Lake City, UT, and Wilson, from Adams, N.Y., were members of an offensive line that in the past three years has accumulated the most yards, points, and wins in program history. Both linemen were part of the first ever winning season, and have played key roles in helping SVU become a proficient offense in the past three years.
The defensive side of the ball provided two more members of the team as Ryan Colt, from St. Louis, MO, finished his career with a place on the second team. Colt finished with 25 total tackles (8 U, 17 A) and was second on the team with 3 sacks. Joining Colt on the defensive second team was sophomore defensive lineman Tommy Davidson. Davidson, from Paradise, CA, recorded 51 total tackles (32 U, 19 A) and was second on the team in tackles for loss with 6. He also recovered a fumble while forcing two other fumbles during the season.
"These awards and the way we ended our season are great momentum for us," said Fitzgerald. "It should really help motivate all of the guys to get better in the weight room, and get ready for a strong spring. Our guys can see that hard work pays off, and hopefully that will translate to more wins come the fall."