Playing at the safety position for the last two years, Corrion Ballard (Houston) has adjusted well to the new position for Blinn College football. Ballard showed so much promise that he was voted as co-defensive player of the year in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
Ballard joined four other Buccaneers on the first team all-conference list. Blinn only had two first-team players a year ago.
“This is really only my second year ever playing at safety but I like the position a lot,” Ballard said. “I get to watch from the back of the defense and see everything going on in front of me and be a field general.”
Ballard earned three interceptions, eight pass break-ups, a forced fumble, five sacks and 41 total tackles.
“Corrion is a great football player and all the coaches across the conference voted very highly for him,” said Ryan Mahon, Blinn interim head coach. “The way he understands football at the safety position helps everybody on the defense.”
Wide receiver Earnest Patterson Jr. (Brenham) earned first-team honors on offense along with running back D’Anthony Hopkins (Cuero). Patterson had the sixth-most receiving yards in the NJCAA with 906 on 68 receptions and scored six touchdowns. Patterson was named NJCAA offensive player of the week for his six reception performance against Navarro College on Sept. 10 that netted him 263 yards and three touchdowns.
Hopkins led the team and is currently fourth in the NJCAA in rushing yards with 1,114 on 130 carries and led the nation with an 8.6 yards per carry average and tied for the lead in touchdowns with 18. He was named NJCAA offensive player of the week for his 369 rushing yard and four touchdown performance against Tyler Junior College on Oct. 1.
Joining Ballard on the defensive side of the first-team honors are linebacker Jake Monroe (Coldspring) and cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City). Monroe led the team in tackles with 79 and had four sacks and eight tackles-for-loss. Sheffield had two interceptions, two forced fumbles to go along with 31 tackles. He also returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.
Blinn had five players that made second-team all-conference. Three offensive linemen earned second-team honors as Tre Newton (Houston), Hanner Shipley (Marble Falls) and Drew Kirkpatrick (Uvalde) all made the list. Defensive linemen Javier Edwards (Houston) and Evan Wick (Hallettsville) made the second-team on defense. Edwards earned 24 tackles and two sacks while Wick earned 39 tackles, four sacks and six tackles-for-loss.
Five Buccaneers earned honorable mention as defensive lineman Colton Knapp (Pleasanton), Jai Edwards (Texas City) and Dominique Harrison (Houston) earned honors on the defensive side. Tre’Veon Hamilton (Humble) and Caleb Hill (Brenham) earned honors on the offensive side.
Knapp earned 39 total tackles, three sacks and 7.5 tackles-for-loss. Edwards was second on the team with 55 tackles and had six tackles for loss. Harrison led the team with four interceptions and had 10 pass break-ups. Hamilton was third on the team with 24 receptions for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Hill missed time because of a shoulder injury but still threw for 872 yards and five touchdowns.
Blinn finished 2016 with a 5-4 record and narrowly missed out on the SWJCFC playoffs in Mahon’s first year as interim head coach.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 34 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.