ASU football players join award watch lists
Two more Arkansas State football players join award watch lists as the the 2017 college football season is fast approaching. Blaise Taylor and Justin Clifton join teammates Ja'Von Rolland-Jones and Blake Mackey on these lists. Rolland-Jones picks up his second watch list choice.
Blaise Taylor was added to the Wuerffel Award watch list that is presented for the Nation's Top Community Service. This is Taylor's second consecutive nomination. Taylor has been heavily involved in the Jonesboro community since arriving at Arkansas State for his freshman season in 2014. Since then he has donated his time and efforts to several organizationís around the city including Special Olympics and the At-Risk community center. He has also participated in the Autism Walk and worked to promote alcohol, drug and health and wellness education by volunteering at local schools and churches. Taylor has also been added to the Hornung Award watch list. This award goes to the most versatile player in college football. Taylor enters his senior season as the Sun Belt Conferenceís all-time leader in punt returns for a touchdown with three and his 781 punt return yards are the most in A-State history. Additionally, his punt return yards are the third most among active players entering the 2017 season. Taylor was named as a Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2016 as a punt return specialist. He was named the SBC Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 7 after a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown against Georgia State in the previous week. Taylor also finished the year with three interceptions, 35 tackles and nine pass break-ups.
Justin Clifton joins the Thorpe Award watch list given to the Nation's Top Defensive Back. Clifton was a Second-Team All-Sun Belt Conference for the Red Wolves in 2016 where he recorded a career-high 87 tackles, the second most on the team. He ranked 20th in the Sun Belt in tackles with 6.7 per game and finished the year with a career-best eight tackles for loss. He had two interceptions, both against Troy as A-State defeated the nationally-ranked Trojans. He also added five pass-breakups throughout the year, while his seven passes defended tied for the 14th most in the league. Clifton recorded double-figure tackles in three games, including a career-high 12 against Central Arkansas. He was responsible for at least four tackles in each of the 13 games he appeared in and had six or more in seven outings.
Ja'Von Rolland-Jones picked up his watch list choice in as many week as he was added to the Nagurski Award watch list presented to Nation's Top Defensive Player.