Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram wins Conerly Trophy

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shortly after the announcement, Evan Engram expressed some playful gratitude.

“Coach (Hugh) Freeze and the rest of the coaching staff, thank you for not blowing it that day at camp,” Engram said, a reference to a workout for Ole Miss’ coaches during his recruitment that netted him his only Southeastern Conference scholarship offer.

Four years later, Ole Miss’ senior tight end can call himself Mississippi’s best.

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Engram on Tuesday won the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which is annually awarded to the best college football player in the state. Engram was announced as the winner during a banquet at the Clarksdale Country Club, beating out nine other finalists based on a statewide media panel vote and a fan vote that counted 10 percent toward the overall vote.

Engram is the sixth Ole Miss player to ever win the award and the first since quarterback Bo Wallace in 2012. The award is named after former Ole Miss and NFL All-Pro quarterback Charlie Conerly.

“It’s a huge honor to accept this award in Mr. Conerly’s name,” Engram said. “Just the standard that he set on and off the field, I hope he can look down on us and be approving of this award tonight.”

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Engram had his most productive season amid the Rebels’ disappointing 5-7 campaign, leading all SEC tight ends in receptions (65), receiving yards (926) and touchdowns (8) in 11 games. His 5.6 receptions per game are second among all league receivers while his 84.2 receiving yards per game are third.

Engram, who missed the Egg Bowl with a hamstring injury, is the nation’s active leader among tight ends with 2,320 receiving yards and is the school record holder among tight end for catches, yards and touchdowns in a season and a career.

“I’d like to thank my teammates and my team,” Engram said. “We had so much adversity through my time here, especially this year. We fought together and got through it together. You learn your greatest lessons through adversity, and I’m proud to do it with my teammates.”

Other finalists for the award were Mississippi State receiver Fred Ross, Alcorn State linebacker Darien Anderson, Belhaven quarterback Hunter McEachern, Delta State running back Chris Robinson, Jackson State defensive end Javancy Jones, Millsaps defensive lineman Alex Foust, Mississippi College receiver Marcel Newson, Mississippi Valley State quarterback Austin Bray and Southern Miss running back Ito Smith.

Engram will play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 28 in Mobile, Alabama.