Gamecocks picked to play in FCS bowl

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

Jacksonville State football players, Daniel Byrd, Josh Brady, Jalen Choice and Christian Wafford have recently been picked to play in the 2019 FCS bowl. This matchup is an annual post-season game for FCS senior all-star players. These athletes will have a chance to play in front of scouts for the NFL and Canadian Football League.

Byrd, senior wide-receiver, has been with the Gamecocks since 2015 when he sat out as a red-shirt freshman. Since then, Byrd has emerged as an integral part of the JSU football team. In his first year playing on the field in 2016, Byrd started out as a cornerback but later became a wide-receiver in the 2017 season where he appeared in all 12 games. 

Byrd’s talent emerged in 2018 where he started in 11 out of 12 games. He was third on his team in receptions with 392 yards total. During the 2019 season, Byrd once again brought in over 300 yards for the Gamecocks, his longest receiving catch being 40 yards against Tennessee Tech. His college career has ended with a total of 64 catches for 715 yards along with two touchdown passes.

Brady, senior long snapper, has been with the Gamecocks since his freshman year in 2016. As a true freshman, he appeared in 11 games, including in the play-off game against Youngstown State. In 2017, Brady snapped the ball over 130 times for the Gamecocks and was named a pre-season All American. He was then given the same award in 2018. 

Wafford, senior linebacker, came to Jacksonville State as a freshman in 2016 where he started his career as a safety for the Gamecocks and appeared in six games as a true freshman. In 2017, Wafford transitioned to the sam linebacker position where he recorded 29 tackles, 17 being solo, and recorded 5 tackles for loss, bringing in 30 negative yards defensively.

In 2018, Wafford appeared in all 13 games in the nickel position in 11 of them. He brought in 48 tackles, 26 being solo, and recorded 38 tackles for loss along with two sacks and one interception. Wafford ended his career with over 100 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss.

Meanwhile, with well over 80 tackles for the 2019 season, Choice has undoubtedly led his team this year defensively. The senior linebacker came to Jacksonville State in 2015 and played in his first game in 2016 against North Alabama. He finished his first season with 13 tackles. 

Choice, senior linebacker, began to show out on the field as a junior in the 2018 season where he started in 12 games and appeared in all 13 games. Choice then led his team in tackles for the first time with 88 tackles total and 12 tackles for loss. At the end of the 2018 season, he was named Second Team All- OVC Defense. Choice has finished his career with a total of 192 tackles and 21.5 tackles for loss.

“[This last game] is very bittersweet. I love the game of football and hope to keep playing after this game at the next level,” said Choice. “My teammates have helped me become the player I am through practice. Without them none of this would be possible.”

The FCS bowl game will be played at Stetson’s Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Fla. this Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Kick off will begin at 12:30 p.m. Fans can stream the game online on FloFootball.com.

 

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