HATTIESBURG (SouthernMiss.com) – After putting together one of the better turnaround seasons in college football for 2015 that included nine victories, a league division title and an invitation to the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Southern Miss added to its accomplishments Tuesday afternoon by having a league-high 10 players make either the Conference USA first or second teams.
The Golden Eagles placed four players on the first team, including senior running back Jalen Richard (Alexandria, La.), junior offensive lineman Cameron Tom (Baton Rouge, La.), senior defensive back Kalan Reed (Birmingham, Ala.) and senior long snapper Lance Schuffert (Prattville, Ala.).
Southern Miss’ second team award winners were junior quarterback Nick Mullens (Hoover, Ala.), sophomore running back Ito Smith (Semmes, Ala.), senior offensive lineman Rashod Hill (Jacksonville, Fla.), senior wide receiver Mike Thomas (Chicago, Ill.), defensive lineman Michael Smith (Birmingham, Ala.) and senior linebacker Brian Anderson (Little Rock, Ark.).
The program also had four players register honorable mention nods, including senior wide receiver Casey Martin (Huffman, Texas), junior defensive lineman Dylan Bradley (Macon, Miss.), senior defensive lineman Andrew Bolton (Bolton, Miss.) and junior defensive back D’Nerius Antoine (New Iberia, La.).
Defensive lineman Darian Yancey (Auburn, Ala.) earned C-USA All-Freshman Team accolades.
Richard collected first-team honors by rushing for 1,098 yards and adding 14 touchdowns on the ground, of which four were of runs of 53 yards or greater. As for Tom, he helped anchor an offensive line at center that tallied a school-record 6,758 total offensive yards. On the defensive side, Reed tallied 47 tackles and added four interceptions - two for touchdowns – to go along with a season school-record 19 pass break ups, while Schuffert kept the Golden Eagle special teams clicking by performing pinpoint snapping the entire season.
Mullens highlights the Golden Eagle second-team honorees after establishing single-season school records for completions (306), passing yards (4,146) and touchdown passes (36), while Smith generated 1,088 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns and a team-best 139.5 all-purpose yards per contest.
Those numbers could not have been generated without the blocking of Hill, who started in all 13 games at left tackle and helped the Golden Eagles post a school-record 4,263 passing yards. Another school-record holder, Thomas, notched a Southern Miss mark for most receiving yards in a season with 1,201 on 62 catches and grabbed at least one touchdown pass in each of his last nine games.
On the defensive side, Smith moved from the outside to an inside spot this season and generated 22 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and 3.0 sacks, while Anderson finished second on the club in tackles with 83, including a team-best 13.5 tackles for loss.
Yancey earned All-Freshman honors by tallying 31 tackles, including 6.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks to go along with an interception.
The C-USA Individual awards are set to be announced Wednesday afternoon.
2015 C-USA FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
QB – Brandon Doughty, WKU, Sr.
RB – Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
RB – Jalen Richard, Southern Miss, Sr.
OL – Sebastian Johansson, Marshall, Sr.
OL – Jaylen Hunter, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
OL – Andrew Reue, Rice, Sr.
OL – Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, Jr.
OL – Forrest Lamp, WKU, Jr.
TE – Tyler Higbee, WKU, Sr.
WR – Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
WR – Richie James, Middle Tennessee, Fr.
WR – Taywan Taylor, WKU, Sr.
DL – Michael Wakefield, FIU, Sr.
DL – Trevon Coley, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
DL – Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
DL – Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
LB – Evan McKelvey, Marshall, Sr.
LB – T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
LB – Nick Holt, WKU, Sr.
DB – Richard Leonard, FIU, Sr.
DB – Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
DB – Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
DB – Kalan Reed, Southern Miss, Sr.
K – Garrett Schwettman, WKU, Sr.
P – Dalton Schomp, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
KR – Deandre Reaves, Marshall, Sr.
PR – Richard Leonard, FIU, Sr.
LS – Lance Schuffert, Southern Miss, Sr.
QB – Nick Mullens, Southern Miss, Jr.
RB – Kalif Phillips, Charlotte, Jr.
RB – Ray Lawry, Old Dominion, So.
RB – Ito Smith, Southern Miss, So.
RB – Anthony Wales, WKU, Jr.
OL – Michael Montero, FIU, Jr.
OL – Reggie Bain, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
OL – Darrell Brown, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
OL – Jens Danielsen, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
OL – Michael Selby, Marshall, Jr.
OL – Rashod Hill, Southern Miss, Sr.
TE – David Morgan II, UTSA, Sr.
WR – Ed Batties, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
WR – Zach Pascal, Old Dominion, Jr.
WR – Mike Thomas, Southern Miss, Sr.
DL – Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte, Jr.
DL – Jarquez Samuel, Marshall, Sr.
DL – Michael Smith, Southern Miss, Sr.
DL – Jason Neill, UTSA, Sr.
LB – Anthony Wint, FIU, So.
LB – Nick Thomason, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
LB – T.J. Ricks, Old Dominion, Jr.
LB – Brian Anderson, Southern Miss, Sr.
DB – Cre’von LeBlanc, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
DB – Bryson Abraham, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
DB – Jeremy Cutrer, Middle Tennessee, Jr.
DB – Bennett Okotcha, UTSA, Sr.
K – Jonathan Barnes, Louisiana Tech, So.
P – Tyler Williams, Marshall, Sr.
KR – Kylen Towner, WKU, So.
PR – Deandre Reaves, Marshall, Sr.
LS – Matt Cincotta, Marshall, Sr.
2015 C-USA FOOTBALL ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
QB – Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
RB – Samuel Stewart, Rice
RB – D'Andre Ferby, WKU
OL – O'Shea Dugas, Louisiana Tech
OL – Chandler Brewer, Middle Tennessee
OL – Chris Miles, North Texas
OL – Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
OL – Dennis Edwards, WKU
TE – Cole Ford, UTEP
WR – Richie James, Middle Tennessee
WR – Parker Smith, Rice
DL – Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
DL – Ryan Bee, Marshall
DL – Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
DL – Darian Yancey, Southern Miss
LB – Ocie Rose, Florida Atlantic
LB – Azeez Al-Shaair, Florida Atlantic
LB – Darius Harris, Middle Tennesse
DB – Jalen Young, Florida Atlantic
DB – Michael Lewis, UTEP
DB – Nate Brooks, North Texas
DB – Justin Bickham, Rice
K – Chris Kirtley, Old Dominion
P – Jake Collins, WKU
KR – Austin Walter, Rice
PR – Warren Redix, UTEP
LS – Casey Winner, Florida Atlantic
IF YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA CONTACT WLBT/WDBD AT (601) 960-4426 OR EMAIL US AT News@WLBT.COM.
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, MS 39201