Mississippi State’s Tanner Allen won the C Spire Ferriss Trophy as the state’s most outstanding college baseball player. (MSU Athletics)

Mississippi State and Ole Miss split the C Spire Outstanding Player Awards announced Monday in a virtual awards program co-sponsored by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and C Spire.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic changed so much about how college sports were played in Mississippi this past school year, it totally changed the way the C Spire awards were presented. Instead of well-attended awards banquets at the end of each season, all the awards were presented at once in a virtual program hosted by CBS television pro football analyst Charles Davis.

The winners:

Boo Ferriss Trophy: Mississippi State’s Tanner Allen, one of the nation’s leading hitters, won over Ole Miss pitching ace Doug Nikhazy, the other finalist. Allen has hit .411 in Southeastern Conference play and .387 overall and ranks in the SEC top 10 in average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, runs batted in and hits. Allen is a finalist for the Dick Howser award as national player of the year. Other Ferriss semifinalists included Mississippi State closer Landon Sims, Ole Miss pitcher Gunnar Hoglund and Ole Miss outfielder Kevin Graham.

Charles Conerly Trophy: Ole Miss record-breaking wide receiver Elijah Moore won over finalist Emmanuel Forbes, a defensive back from Mississippi State, who led the SEC in interceptions. Moore caught 86 passes for 1,193 yards and recently was a second round draft choice of the New York Jets. Other nominees included Southern Miss offensive lineman Arvin Fletcher, Jackson State wide receiver Daylen Baldwin, Mississippi Valley State defensive end-linebacker Jerry Garner, Belhaven running back Brad Foley, Millsaps defensive back Christian Roberts, and Mississippi College running back Cole Fagan.

Bailey Howell Trophy: Ole Miss guard Devontae Shuler won over finalists Tristan Jarrett of Jackson State D. J. Stewart of Mississippi State. Shuler, a first team All-SEC selection, led the Rebels with a 15.3 points per game average and also led the team in assists and steals. He becomes Ole Miss’s sixth Howell Trophy winner over the past nine seasons.

Peggie Gillom Trophy: Ole Miss’s Shakira Austin won over a pair of Jackson State finalists, Dayzsha Rogan and Ameshya Williams. Austin, a Maryland transfer, averaged 18.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, shooting 52 percent from the field. She breaks a six-year run of Mississippi State players winning the Gillom.

In addition to the C Spire awards, Ole Miss’s versatile senior offensive lineman Royce Newman won the Entergy Kent Hull Trophy as the state’s most outstanding offensive lineman. Newman, who played both guard and tackle for the Rebels, was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Green Pay Packers.

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.