MVP: Aaron Mellette
The senior wide receiver’s numbers are hard to ignore. The All-Southern Conference First Team pick by both coaches and media, Mellette had 97 catches for 1,389 yards and 18 touchdowns. He tied for the second-most ever in a single season in conference history in that latter. He was second nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision in receptions per game (8.82) and receiving yards per game (127.09). Mellette finished his career with the second-most receptions (304), receiving yards (4,254), touchdowns (44) and 100-yard games (23) in Elon University and SoCon history, behind Terrell Hudgins.
Not only did Mellette impress in the numbers category, he was a monster on the field. His height and speed allowed him to create separation from defenders. This showed up notably in games in which he faced spectacular talent on defense, including a career-best 247 yards and three touchdowns against Appalachian State University cornerback and NFL prospect Demetrius McCray Oct. 6. He is the No. 15 wide receiver in the NFL Draft class of 2013 as currently rated by ESPN, slated to go in the fourth round.
Best Game: 23-35 L to No. 14 Appalachian State University Oct. 6
In a year when there weren’t many great games for the Elon Phoenix, this provided perhaps the best back-and-forth action for 60 minutes. Elon got on the board early, with senior quarterback Thomas Wilson finding Mellette for an 11-yard touchdown to get the game going about three minutes in. The teams traded scores until the Mountaineers got on top 28-17 thanks to quarterback Jamal Jackson’s 23-yard passing score to running back Steven Miller just 2:13 into the fourth quarter. Just one minute and 21 seconds later, Wilson found Mellette for the third time that day to pull the Phoenix within five, 28-23. But the Mountaineers’ defense held out, and Jackson added insurance with a touchdown run with less than eight minutes left and Appalachian State continued its dominance over the Phoenix with a 35-23 victory.
Mellette had a stellar game, grabbing 13 balls for 247 yards and three touchdowns, increasing his career total in scores against the Mountaineers to eight. Wilson threw for 431 yards, but also had three interceptions. Meanwhile, Jackson was an effective 19-for-27 through the air for 291 yards and four touchdowns. Jackson later beat out Wilson for all-SoCon first-team honors at quarterback.
Best Moment: Thuc Phan's 110 rushing yards Sept. 15 vs. West Virginia State
He's 5-foot-6, 160 pounds and a freshman walk-on running back from Greensboro. He had just 43 carries this season, most of them in garbage time in big wins or big losses. But perhaps Thuc Phan's biggest moment was his team's lone individual 100-yard rushing game this season.
The Phoenix held a 38-7 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter against West Virginia State when the second-team offense came onto the field, including Phan. Until the final whistle blew, he nearly scored twice, broke six rushes for ten yards or more and brought the few remaining fans to their feet whenever he touched the ball.
The Phoenix struggled on the ground all season, but Phan's big day against West Virginia State was a highlight in a dark season.