The Demons had 12 players recognized on the team chosen by the eight head coaches and sports information directors representing the league's teams. Six members of NSU's Purple Swarm defense, which ranked second in the conference in total defense overall and in Southland games, were honored.
Defensive tackle Lesley Deamer and the Southland's leading tackler, linebacker Pat Black, both seniors, joined junior cornerback Imoan Claiborne on the All-Southland second team, along with senior offensive lineman Warren Jones.
Seven Demons received honorable mention all-conference accolades: senior receiver Louis Hollier, senior offensive tackle Tchissakid Player, junior running back Garrett Atzenweiler, junior defensive tackle Deon Simon, junior cornerback Fred Thomas, sophomore Ed Eagan as an all-purpose player and a punt returner, and freshman defensive end JeMarcus Marshall.
They helped NSU finish 6-6 overall and 3-4 in the Southland as the Demons won three of their last four games, showing steady improvement in the second half of the season. NSU opened with a victory at Missouri State, which finished third in the highly-regarded Missouri Valley Conference, and blasted Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division champion Southern to open the home schedule. Thomas' first Demon squad went 5-1 at home.
Adkins is the fourth NSU player in 25 years to be named the league's newcomer of the year and is the first since Jamall Johnson, a linebacker who is still starring in the Canadian Football League, earned the honor in 2003.
The junior quarterback from Riverside, Calif., transferred from Riverside City College and set seven single-season Demon records, including for total offense, points responsible for, passing yards, touchdown passes, and completion percentage.
Adkins completed 247 of 382 passes for 2,725 yards and 21 touchdowns. His completion percentage of 64.7 ranked 23rd in the FCS, while his yardage total ranked 20th nationally.
His pass yardage total broke Scott Stoker's 25-year-old school record of 2,393 and his touchdown passes topped a 45-year-old standard of 16 set by Don Guidry in 1968. His 64.7 completion percentage topped the previous mark of 61.7 set by Brad Henderson in 2011.
Adding his 224 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Adkins (2,950 total yards, 24 touchdowns for 144 points) shattered Stoker's 1988 total offense school mark of 2,559 yards and Guidry's 1968 mark of 114 points rushing and passing.
He set new marks for pass attempts and completions while suffering only nine interceptions, one every 42 attempts.
Adkins had two 300-yard games, including 331 against Southern in his second game and a season-high 333, 10th best in school history, in a 40-27 win against Stephen F. Austin in the season finale.
He threw three touchdowns in a game four times and completed at least one touchdown pass in his final six games of the year.