LAS VEGAS, NV – South Carolina State defensive back Decobie Durant was announced as the 2021 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year Tuesday during the 63rd Annual National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame Press Conference at the Aria Resort and Casino. Durant became the sixth Bulldog in eight seasons to receive the prestigious accolade.
Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter earned Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Both players were presented their awards by retiring MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas during the press conference.
“These two young men represent the continuing legacy of stellar student-athletes that this conference has produced since its founding more than 50 years ago,” said Thomas. “The work that they have done as both students in the classroom and athletes on the football field is a direct correlation to ideals taught by the institutions that they represent. So, congratulations are extended to them as they close out their college careers and take aim at what we know will be successful and productive lives.”
In becoming the sixth SC State player in eight season to earn the league’s top defensive honor, Durant cemented the Bulldogs’ legacy of producing outstanding defensive players who went on to National Football League careers.
The Bulldogs’ Joe Thomas Jr, a linebacker, earned the honor in 2013, followed by defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in both 2014 and 2015, and linebacker Darius Leonard in 2016 and 2017. All three are on the NFL rosters and Durant is expected to get an opportunity as well.
North Carolina A&T defensive lineman Darryl Johnson was the recipient in 2018, while NC Central’s Darius Royster, also a defensive lineman, earned the honor in 2019. There was no recipient in 2020 as the MEAC did not have an official season due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Durant (DB, 5-11, 180, Gr., Lamar, S.C.), considered one of the MEAC’s top pro prospects, earned MEAC Defensive Player of the Year following a final season that saw him accumulate 37 tackles, including 29 solo stops. He led the league in passes defended.