College Sports Journal FBS Group of Five National Players of the Week-Dec. 14

Five players including Grayson McCall from Coastal Carolina, Jaelon Darden from North Texas, Justin Hall from Ball State, Jordan Smith from UAB, and Shamar Garrett from San Jose State have been selected as the College Sports Journal All-Stars for the week ending Dec. 14, 2020 from the NCAA Division I FBS Group of Five schools.

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina, QB, Fr, Indian Trail, N.C.

McCall led a late fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Troy 42-38 on the road. He finished the game going 24-of-29 for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards and a TD in the win. After throwing just his second interception of the season which allowed Troy to take the lead with 1:20 left in the game, McCall answered by going 4-of-4 for 71 yards to lead the Chants’ game-winning drive. He connected with Jaivon Heiligh for a 23-yard touchdown pass to cap the five-play, 75-yard drive that took just 45 seconds to put the Chants back on top for good 42-38. McCall’s 24 pass completions and 338 yards were both career highs and his three touchdowns gives him eight games this season with two touchdown passes or more. With the win, the Chants finish the regular season undefeated at 11-0. The perfect regular season is the first-ever in Coastal Carolina’s program history and the first-ever in Sun Belt Conference history.

Jaelon Darden, North Texas, WR, Sr., Houston, Tex.

Darden further cemented himself as the Mean Green’s most accomplished receiver in the 45-43 win over UTEP on Dec. 11, hauling in team-highs in catches (8) receiving yards (173) and receiving touchdowns (4). Darden set a new program record for career receptions with 230 and receiving yards with 2,782 just one week after taking over the school record in receiving touchdowns, which now stands at 38. He also moved into second place in program history in single-season receiving yards with 1,190 and career total touchdowns (rushing/receiving/returns) with 39. Darden leads the FBS in receiving touchdowns with 19 and receiving touchdowns per game with 2.1 and his 19 touchdowns have tied him for the second-most in a single season by an FBS player in the last five seasons (Corey Davis – 2016, Western Michigan and Carlos Henderson – 2016, Louisiana Tech). Darden scored touchdowns of 75, 50, 32 and two yards in the win over the Miners.

Justin Hall, Ball State, WR, Sr., Douglasville, Ga.

Hall caught 10 passes for a career-high 175 yards and two touchdowns Saturday in Ball State’s MAC West Division-clinching victory over Western Michigan. He also became the Cardinals’ all-time receptions leader in the 30-27 victory, surpassing KeVonn Mabon’s mark of 244 and finishing the day at 252. Hall caught touchdown passes of 32 and 55 yards on key drives to tie the game in the second and fourth quarters. It was the second two-touchdown game this season for college football’s active leader in career receptions. Hall extended his FBS-leading active streak to 42 straight games with a catch while helping Ball State to its first MAC Championship Game berth since 2008.

Jordan Smith, UAB, DE, R-Jr., Lithonia, Ga.

Smith had a team-high seven tackles and 2.5 sacks (-20 yards) to lead UAB to its third straight C-USA West Division title in a 21-16 victory at Rice.  Smith stepped up when it mattered most with two sacks in the final four minutes of the game, including one with only :13 seconds remaining.  Smith now has 37 tackles, 9.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks this season.

Shamar Garrett, San Jose State, KR, Fr., Livermore, Calif.

Garrett returned three kickoffs for 131 yards, including a 98-yard touchdown return in San José State’s come-from-behind victory over Nevada to clinch a spot in the 2020 Mountain West Football Championship Game. On the opening play of the second half, he cut the Wolf Pack’s lead in half with the 98-yard touchdown, sixth longest kickoff return in program history. It was the first kickoff return touchdown by a Spartan since 2015.