Davidson Named Defensive Player of the Year, Herndon and Washington Selected to NAIA All-Independent Second Team

Davidson becomes the first Knight to garnish Defensive Player of the Year honors. Photo by Justo Photography

Written by Chris Pendleton

BUENA VISTA, Va.—Three members of the Southern Virginia University football team—Tommy Davidson, Luke Herndon and Jerry Washington—today were selected to the 2011 NAIA All-Independent Football Team as voted on by the NAIA Independent Conference coaches.

After closing out a stellar four-year career with a record-breaking senior campaign, Davidson (Paradise, Calif.) becomes the first Knight in Southern Virginia football's nine-year history to garnish NAIA Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Captaining the Knights defense from the middle linebacker position, Davidson set a new Southern Virginia football single-season mark this fall with 133 total tackles (81 solo, 52 assists). He also set program single-season records for unassisted tackles (81), tackles for loss (15.0) and yards from tackles for loss (64) during his senior year.

Davidson registered double-digit tackles in seven of the Knights' nine countable games during the 2011 season, including a career high and Southern Virginia single-game record 21-tackle performance against NCAA Division II Brevard College in front of a homecoming crowd on Oct. 15, which moved him into first place on the Knights' all-time tackles list.

A three-time NAIA All-Independent honoree—he earned second-team honors in 2009 and first-team honors in 2010—Davidson was credited with at least one tackle for loss in eight of Southern Virginia's nine countable games, while also recording 3.0 sacks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown.

Davidson finishes his stellar career atop Southern Virginia's record books in multiple defensive categories including total tackles (342), unassisted tackles (211), tackles for loss (45.0), yards from tackles for loss (199), quarterback sacks (10.5) and yards from sacks (95).

Davidson was accompanied by fellow defenseman Luke Herndon on the 2011 NAIA All-Independent Team as the defensive tackle from Mechanicsville, Virginia earned second-team honors following a solid junior season.

Herndon was a force on the Knights' front line finishing with the second-most total tackles (62) and assists (33) on Southern Virginia's defense, trailing only Davidson in both categories. He also recorded the second-most sacks (4.5), yards from sacks (37), tackles for loss (14) and yards from tackles for loss on the Knights' defense. 

After only three seasons as a Knight, Herndon ranks second all-time in Southern Virginia football history in quarterback sacks (7.0) and yards from tackles for loss (85). He also ranks third all-time in yards from sacks (52), fourth all-time in tackles for loss (17.5) and fifth all-time in assisted tackles (55).

Jerry Washington, a true freshman running back from Gloucester, Virginia, was also voted to the NAIA Independent Second Team following a breakout first season as the Knights' primary rushing threat. 

During his freshman campaign, Washington eclipsed the century mark against four different opponents—Pikeville College, George Mason University, Webber International University and Ave Maria University—on his way to a team-best 967 rushing yards on 205 attempts, while averaging 84.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks first all-time in Southern Virginia football history.

Washington also broke Southern Virginia's single-season record with 15 rushing touchdowns during his rookie year, including a new single-game record five rushing touchdowns on Oct. 29 at George Mason University.

After only one year carrying the ball for the Knights, Washington has already accumulated the second-most rushing touchdowns (15)—he trails Hayes Page (2005-07) by only three touchdowns—and the third-most rushing yards (928) in Southern Virginia football history.