Third on the team and No. 12 in the SoCon with 77 tackles last season, Key returns as one of the top defensive players in the league. He was selected by his teammates to be one of four team captains for the upcoming season, despite only being a junior.
Key also led the team with three interceptions, including a school-record 85-yarder returned for a touchdown against Western Carolina. Also a solid performer in the classroom, he made the Athletics Director's Honor Roll in each of the last three semesters.
According to their website (CollegeFootballPerformance.com), the goal of the CFPA is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. Recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
As prominent scholars from a wide variety of disciplines note, CFPA eliminates the politics and biases that vitiate balloting-based awards. Furthermore, CFPA has received praise from both Republican and Democratic White House officials for promoting objectivity and fairness in college football.
Key joins sophomore linebacker Wes Dothard (Carrollton, Ga.), senior defensive end Josh Williams (Griffin, Ga.) and sophomore tight end Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.) to make up the four Mocs who have been named to the CFPA preseason lists.
The Mocs open 2012 with a trip to South Florida on Sept. 1. The home schedule kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 13 against Glenville State at 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.). Season tickets are on sale now with more information available here.
2012 CFPA Defensive Back Watch List
- Saeed Lee, Alabama State
- Kejuan Riley, Alabama State
- Demetrius McCray, Appalachian State
- Ryan Shaw, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
- A.J. Cruz, Brown
- Steth Monroe, Campbell
- Jestin Love, Central Arkansas
- Charles James, Charleston Southern
- D.J. Key, Chattanooga
- Mike Armiento, Colgate
- Travis Hawkins, Delaware
- Serge Kona, Duquesne
- Devontae Johnson, Florida A&M
- Jeremy Moore, Georgetown
- Donovan Henley, Idaho State
- Pierre Warren, Jacksonville State
- Darius Safford, Lafayette
- Bryan Andrews, Lehigh
- Walt Aikens, Liberty
- Malcolm Bronson, McNeese State
- Pat Gray, Monmouth
- Kenneth Ridley, Morgan State
- Chris Houston, New Hampshire
- Colten Heagle, North Dakota State
- Garrett Scott, Nothern Iowa
- Jamaal White, Northwestern State
- Eriq Lewis, Old Dominion
- Alvin Hines II, Samford
- Dax Swanson, Sam Houston State
- Darnell Taylor, Sam Houston State
- Darius Drummond, South Carolina State
- Winston Wright, South Dakota State
- Tylor Brock, Southeast Missouri
- Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana
- Davonte Anderson, Stony Brook
- Torian Phillips, Wagner
- Kieron James, Western Illinois
- B.W. Webb, William & Mary