Virginia Union Jada Byers
2022 Football

CIAA Football Honors 2022

The CIAA has announced its players of the year, all-conference and all-rookie teams for 2022.

CHARLOTTE, NC (November 11, 2022) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announces its 2022 Football All-Conference teams and superlatives as voted on by the CIAA Football Coaches Association and Sports Information Directors Association. This year’s teams are led by Offensive Player of the Year Jada Byers of Virginia Union University, Defensive Player of the Year Joshua Pryor from Bowie State University, Special Teams Player of the Year Brady Myers of Virginia Union University, and Offensive Lineman of the Year Matthew Foster of Virginia State University.

In his sophomore season, Byers rushed for 1,809 yards in the regular season, which currently leads all rushers in the nation (FBS, FCS, DII, DIII, & NAIA). His 263 carries rank second in Division II and his 19 rushing touchdowns rank third. The Hammonton, NJ native and 2021 CIAA Offensive Rookie of the Year averaged 180.1 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry while adding 15 receptions for 135 yards and two receiving touchdowns this year. Additionally, the Virginia Union running back led the conference in scoring (12.6 points per game) and all-purpose yards (210.2 per game). Byers rushed for over 100 yards in nine consecutive games and had three 200+ yard performances, including a career-high 319 in a win against then-No. 2 ranked Valdosta State. He also had seven games with multiple scores, including four rushing touchdowns against Lincoln (PA). Byers was the main offensive engine for a nationally ranked Panthers’ team that finished with a 9-1 overall record and is fifth in Division II in scoring offense (43.9 points per game).

Pryor, a redshirt senior, finished the season with 47 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks, and eight quarterback hurries. His 47 total tackles tied the team-high for Bowie State and his 10.5 tackles for a loss tied for ninth in the CIAA. The Baltimore, MD native also was credited with two pass deflections and two forced recoveries, one of which Pryor returned for a touchdown. Defensively, Pryor helped the Bulldogs finish as one of four teams in the conference that surrendered less than 300 yards per game en route to a 6-4 overall record.

As a freshman, Myers made 7-of-11 field goals and 53 of 55 extra points for the Panthers. The Orlando, FL native is second in the conference in scoring with 7.4 points per game. Myers connected on three field goals of 39 yards or more, including a long of 44 yards in the 31-28 road win over Fayetteville State. Against Bowie State, the kicker earned his first career walkoff game-winner with a 43-yard field goal in the bottom period of the first overtime to give the Panthers a 27-24 road win over the Bulldogs. Myers is part of a Panthers team that led the CIAA in scoring (43.9 points per game) and finished the regular season fifth in Division II in scoring with a 9-1 record.

Foster, a junior from Ellenwood, GA, led a Virginia State offensive line unit that finished second in the conference in scoring (30.5 points per game) and third in offensive yards per game (416.6.). The Trojans were the only school in the CIAA to gain 2,000 yards through the air and on the ground. As a team, Virginia State generated 226 first downs (second in the league) and converted a league-high 17 fourth downs through 10 games. in the eight CIAA contests, Foster and the Trojans’ offensive line allowed just 15 sacks, the second-best mark in the conference.

Virginia Union CIAA Football
Virginia Union gets ready to take the field against Fayetteville State. (092422)

Virginia Union Head Coach Dr. Alvin Parker was voted CIAA Coach of the Year by league media and coaches. Dr. Parker led Virginia Union to a 9-1 regular season, including an 8-1 mark against Division II competition and a 7-1 record in conference action. The Panthers are currently ranked #15 in the American Football Coaches Association Poll and were ranked as high as 10th in the nation. Currently, Virginia Union is ranked fourth in the NCAA’s Super Region Two, which has the Panthers primed to earn its first NCAA Division II Football Championship Tournament bid since 2015 and just the second time since 1991. Dr. Parker and Virginia Union will find out if they will earn a bid and if they will host a playoff game on Sunday, November 13.

Leading the All-Rookie selections are Offensive Rookie of the Year Isaiah Freeman of Lincoln (PA) University and Defensive Rookie of the Year Kenneth Larkins Jr. of Livingstone College.

A talented quarterback from Chester, PA, Freeman finished second in the CIAA with 1,664 passing yards and 2,049 yards of total offense in nine games. He threw 13 passes to just three interceptions and rushed for four more scores. Freeman, who was also named a 2022 Second-Team All-CIAA selection, had six games with multiple touchdowns, including a four-touchdown performance with 298 yards passing in a 29-28 road win over Johnson C. Smith.

Larkins Jr., a defensive back from Fort Lauderdale, FL, led the CIAA and is currently tied for the most interceptions in Division II with eight interceptions in nine games. His 161 return yards on interceptions also lead the conference and is third in Division II. Larkins Jr. also recorded 42 total tackles, including 32 solo tackles and two stops for losses, plus four pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Versus Shaw, Larkins Jr., who was also named a 2022 First-Team All-CIAA selection, became the first CIAA player since 2019 to record three interceptions in a single game. In a 20-17 win over Winston-Salem State, Larkins Jr. had two interceptions and a forced fumble and he returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown against Bowie State. 

Chowan, Fayetteville State, and Virginia Union each had a league-high nine All-CIAA selections followed by Bowie State and the Bulldogs’ eight all-conference selections. Virginia Union also had the most all-rookie selections with five, followed by Johnson C. Smith and Chowan with three selections each.

Offensive Player of the Year – Jada Byers, Virginia Union
Defensive Player of the Year – Joshua Pryor, Bowie State
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Matthew Foster, Virginia State
Special Teams’ Player of the Year – Brady Myers, Virginia Union
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Isaiah Freeman, Lincoln (PA)
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Kevin Larkins Jr., Livingstone
Coach of the Year Dr. Alvin Parker, Virginia Union

First Team All-CIAA

Tight End
Jordan Griffin, Bowie State

Offensive Linemen
Matthew Foster, Virginia State
Darian Bryant, Virginia Union
Tyrese Bobbitt, Shaw
Justin Meade, Virginia Union
Dallas Caporaletti, Chowan

Wide Receivers
Brevin Caldwell, Johnson C. Smith
Keshane Hinckley, Bowie State

DJ Golatt CIAA Football
Bowie State quarterback DJ Golatt looks to pass aginst Virginia State.

Dion Golatt Jr., Bowie State

Running Backs
Jada Byers, Virginia Union
Darius Hagans, Virginia State

Kick Returner
Zion Riddick, Elizabeth City State

Place Kicker
Brady Myers, Virginia Union

Defensive Linemen
Devin Cowan, Fayetteville State
Joshua Pryor, Bowie State
Raydarius Freeman, Chowan
Armonii Burden, Virginia Union

Montre Moore, Chowan
Zion Johnson, Virginia State
Juanya’ Majette, Elizabeth City State

Defensive Backs
Willie Drew, Virginia State
Kevin Larkins Jr., Livingstone
Jaleel Scroggins, Shaw
Jay Boyd, Shaw

Punt Returner
Kwincy Hall, Bowie State

Jacob Young, Fayetteville State
Second Team All-CIAA

Tight End
Kalen Carver, Virginia Union

Offensive Linemen
Tyler Fleming, Fayetteville State
Daniel Horne, Chowan
David Keck, Chowan
Michael Todd, Fayetteville State
Quinton Bobo, Bowie State

Wide Receivers
Barry Elliott, Fayetteville State
Malik Tobias, Chowan

Isaiah Freeman, Lincoln (PA)

Running Backs
Sidney Gibbs, Shaw
Amir Gerald, Lincoln (PA)

Kick Returner
Kwincy Hall, Bowie State

Place Kicker
Elton Andrew, Fayetteville State

Defensive Linemen
Cameron Merrell, Fayetteville State
Isaac Anderson, Virginia Union
Jamae Blank, Chowan
Miqueal Pillow-Smiley, Virginia State

Kentrell Caldwell, Fayetteville State
Mike Johnson, Lincoln (PA)
Damontay Rhem, Virginia Union

Defensive Backs
Simeon Burns, Chowan
Raymond Boone, Bowie State
Brandon Barnes-Brown, Fayetteville State
Kmare Carey, Chowan

Punt Returner
Demetrius Mann, Virginia Union

Devin Versteegen, Shaw
CIAA All-Rookie Team

Adam Aiken, St. Augustine’s
Anthony Binyard, Fayetteville State
Donald Gatling, Virginia Union
Elijah Wilson, Shaw
Jadon Carter, Bowie State
Jalen Alexander, Johnson C. Smith
Kevin Larkins Jr., Livingstone
Raylyn Manley, Virginia Union
Rodney Stubbs, Lincoln (PA)
Shamar Graham, Virginia Union
Traevon Mitchell, Chowan

Brady Myers, Virginia Union
Brevin Caldwell, Johnson C. Smith
Bruno Onwuazar, Virginia State
Caleb Pierce, Chowan
Curtis Allen, Virginia Union
Derrick Alston Jr., Fayetteville State
Isaiah Freeman, Lincoln (PA)
Jacob Newman, Johnson C. Smith
JahTwan Stafford, Winston-Salem State
Jordaan Bailey, Chowan
Malik Hunter, Virginia State

CIAA Football Honors 2022
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