Story courtesy of Carson-Newman Athletic Communications
ROCHESTER, Minn. - Carson-Newman redshirt junior running back Antonio Wimbush has received national recognition for his efforts to return to the field from a torn ACL and meniscus. Wimbush has been named one of three inaugural winners of the Mayo Clinic's Comeback Player of the Year.
Wimbush shares the honor with Antwan Dixon of Kent State University and Seth Simmer of Dartmouth College. Dixon and Simmer were selected in a vote of AP College Football Writers, while Wimbush was chosen by vote of the CoSIDA small college advisory board.
Mayo Clinic, the premier sponsor, will donate $5,000 to the general scholarship fund at Carson-Newman in Wimbush's name.
Wimbush, along with Dixon and Simmer, will be honored during an on-field ceremony at the 2019 Fiesta Bowl between UCF and LSU in Glendale, Arizona on New Year's Day.
Wimbush tore his ACL and meniscus in a week two contest in 2017 against Saint Augustine's.
The junior was bullish in the offseason with his rehab and work ethic. Within six months of his surgery, he was squatting 525 pounds. Carson-Newman Director of Sports Performance Johnny Long has called Wimbush, pound-for-pound, the strongest player on the football team.
After a hard offseason rehab, Wimbush turned in another stellar season to earn All-SAC first team honors for the second time in his career to go along with all-region accolades from the D2CCA. He finished the season with 1,206 rushing yards to lead the South Atlantic Conference. The season-ending total represents the 18th best single-year on the ground for an Eagle rusher. He found the end zone seven times on the ground and once more through the air.
Wimbush had a string of four straight 100-yard games at the mid-point of the season and finished the year with 100-yard rushing efforts in five of Carson-Newman's final six games. He moved up to 11th on both Carson-Newman's career rushing yards and rushing touchdown charts.
Wimbush earned South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week honors following his performance at Virginia Union when he had 21 carries for 184 yards and three scores. That rushing tally marked a career high for Wimbush. He also went for more than 150 yards rushing against both Limestone and Virginia-Lynchburg.
His 8.0 yards per carry are the eighth highest single-season total in Carson-Newman football history and the second highest total in NCAA Division II this year.