Cohen, Leonard earn top MEAC awards

(STATS) – North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen became the first three-time winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's offensive player of the year award and South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard was named the defensive player of the year Tuesday.

Cohen, a 5-foot-6, 179-pound senior, led the MEAC with 1,588 rushing yards and became the conference's all-time leading rusher with 5,619. He scored 19 touchdowns and averaged 7.5 yards per carry for N.C. A&T, which finished with a 9-3 record.

He finished fifth in the voting for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, which honors the national offensive player of the year.

Leonard, a 6-3, 220-pound junior, led the MEAC with 124 tackles, and his average of 11.3 stops per game ranks sixth in the FCS. He also had 14½ tackles for a loss of 64 yards, 3½ sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups, four forced fumbles and two blocked kicks.

He tied for 10th in the voting for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year.

The MEAC's head football coaches and sports information directors selected the players of the year.