Former Whale Branch standout Dee Delaney is now a two-time All-American.
The Citadel cornerback was named an FCS All-American on Thursday by the Associated Press, following a season in which his six interceptions led the Southern Conference and moved him into a share of second on the school’s career chart.
Two of Delaney’s interceptions came in the Bulldogs’ playoff loss to Wofford two weekends ago, helping The Citadel preserve a 3-0 halftime lead. Two Wofford touchdowns in the final quarter ended the Bulldogs’ season at 10-2.
The 6-foot-1 junior also recorded 35 tackles on the season and broke up eight passes.
“He’s totally changed his game,” said Whale Branch coach Jerry Hatcher, who laughed heartily when told the news. “Honestly, Dee didn’t want to hit a lot of people in high school. ... I tried my best in pushing him to bigger schools, but they didn’t see what The Citadel saw.”
Delaney, named to the Walter Camp Foundation’s All-American squad last year, has started 36 of 37 games in his three seasons. He has 13 career interceptions, matching Bruce Alexander (1978-81) for second on The Citadel’s all-time list.
Eight pass breakups this season also moved Delaney to fifth on the school career list with 30.
Delaney was a second-team AP All-American last year, when he recorded five interceptions with two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
Multiple NFL scouting services currently list Delaney among the nation’s top 20 junior cornerbacks.
Hatcher recalled sitting in a conference room with Delaney during the recruiting process, when the player might have been wavering on whether to play receiver or defense.
“I told him if (an NFL opportunity) comes, there’s a big demand for 6-foot cornerbacks,” Hatcher said. “Six-foot receivers are a dime a dozen.”
Two other South Carolina players made the AP’s top unit: Linebackers Alex Scearce of Coastal Carolina and Darius Leonard of South Carolina State.