South Carolina State standout Hargrave excels on D

The accolades are accumulating for Javon Hargrave, the hard-hitting defensive tackle for South Carolina State.

Last season, he led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in sacks with 16—including six in one game alone, against rival Bethune-Cookman. His on-field exploits earned Hargrave the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Hargrave’s stats tell the story of his success. The 6-2, 295-pound senior from Salisbury, NC was fourth in the NCAA in tackles for loss, with 23.5, and totaled 55 sacks, three forced fumbles, eight quarterback hurries and two pass break-ups. In addition to the MEAC award, Hargrave earned All-American honors from the Sheridan Broadcasting Network, and the SBN Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year award.

The national spotlight will continue to shine on Hargrave—starting on Sept. 6th when South Carolina State meets Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 11th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET).

To hear his coach tell it, his defensive standout will be primed and ready.

“He had a fantastic year,” said Oliver “Buddy” Pough, South Carolina State head coach, of his star defensive tackle. “Javon is not only a good football player, but a fantastic citizen and student. He’s a good leader for our team. He’s not a 'big talk' guy; he’s a big ‘do’ guy. He’s a joy to have on our team. It’s great to have him coming back next year.”

Pough—who’s seen plenty of talent during 13 seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach—believes Hargrave’s skills are exceptional.

“Very seldom do you run into an inside guy with that kind of ability as a pass rusher,” said Pough, whose Bulldogs finished 8-4 last season (6-2 in the MEAC). “He has some of the power moves. He’s got the shake-and-bake kind of stuff. He’s got a real knack to rush the passer from the inside. That’s a special kind of trait, because you just don’t see many guys who can do it that way."