Mobley named OVC Offensive Player of the Year

Nov 25, 2014 | Football


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State took home three of the four major 2014 postseason OVC football awards while Eastern Kentucky won the other in voting conducted by league head coaches and sports information directors and announced on Tuesday.

Jacksonville State junior defensive tackle Devaunte Sigler was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year and offensive tackle Justin Lea was named OVC Freshman of the Year while their coach John Grass was tabbed the OVC Roy Kidd Coach of the Year. The other major award went to Eastern Kentucky junior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley who was named OVC Offensive Player of the Year.

Jacksonville State led the way with eight first-team selections and had 18 total selections across the first-team, second-team and All-Newcomer squads. Eastern Illinois was second with 12 picks across the three teams, including five first-team and five second-team selections. The All-OVC first-team included 13 seniors, 10 juniors and two sophomores while the second-team included 12 seniors, nine juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.

Mobley proved to be a difference maker for Eastern Kentucky after transferring from the University of Kentucky, as he helped the Colonels earn its 21st NCAA Division I Playoff appearance and first since the 2011 season. The junior ranks fifth nationally in rushing touchdowns (19), sixth in scoring (10.0 points/game), 11th in rushing yards (1,395), 13th in rushing yards/game (116.3), 21st in rushing yards/carry (5.91) and 22nd in all-purpose yards (138.83 yards/game). A finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Mobley tied the OVC record for touchdowns in a game when he scored six (five rushing, one receiving) in a victory over Murray State; he finished that game with 324 all-purpose yards (the fifth-highest total in the FCS this season), including 224 rushing and 100 receiving yards, on his way to National Player of the Week honors. Mobley produced eight 100-yard rushing games this season (the most in the league), scored multiple rushing touchdowns in five contests and ranked third on his team with 30 receptions. His 19 rushing touchdowns are the third-most in OVC single-season history, his 120 points are the fifth-most and he needs just 148 rushing yards to move into 10th place in league history. Mobley is the 11th Eastern Kentucky player to be named OVC Offensive Player of the Year and first since quarterback Allan Holland took home the honor in 2007. He joins a group of three other EKU running backs to win the award including Everett Talbert (1974 and 1976) Elroy Harris (1988) and Markus Thomas (1991 and 1992).

The All-OVC first-team was highlighted by Mobley at the running back position. He was joined by Jacksonville State senior DaMarcus James who earned his second-straight All-OVC first-team accolades. Despite missing a game James rushed for 1,023 yards in 10 games and ranked second in the OVC and 18th nationally with 13 rushing touchdowns. The All-American now has 48 career rushing touchdowns which ranks fifth in OVC history. The first-team quarterback is Jacksonville State sophomore Eli Jenkins who had another solid season after a breakout FCS Playoffs in 2013. Jenkins passed for 1,617 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 614 yards and five scores in leading the Gamecocks to a 10-1 record and the nation’s fourth-ranked offense (510.5 yards/game). The wide receiver position included Eastern Illinois senior Adam Drake and Southeast Missouri State junior Paul McRoberts. Drake capped his career by ranking sixth in OVC history in career receptions (202) and receiving yards (2,979) and ninth in career receiving touchdowns (26). This season his 1,321 receiving yards are the most in the FCS, his 110.1 yards/game average ranks fourth and his 7.8 catches/game is fifth nationally; his 93 catches in 2014 are the fourth-most in OVC single-season history. Despite missing five games due to injury McRoberts made a huge impact for first-year Southeast Missouri State coach Tom Matukewicz. The junior caught six touchdowns in the first four games of the season including the game-winner as the Redhawks topped No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana in September; he returned to the field in November and caught three more touchdowns and tallied a pair of 100-yard receiving games. Eastern Illinois senior Jeff LePak earned his second consecutive first-team All-OVC honor at tight end after catching 30 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown. The first-team offensive line included a pair of Jacksonville State players in senior center Max Holcombe (a repeat first-team selection) and junior guard Adam Wright. The team also included Eastern Illinois senior guard Collin Seibert (who earned his third-straight first-team All-OVC honors), UT Martin senior tackle Charles Sweeton and Eastern Kentucky junior tackle Brett Eyckmans.

The first-team defense was headlined by JSU’s Sigler who was joined on the defensive line by another newcomer in teammate LaMichael Fanning. Fanning, a transfer from Alabama, tallied 26 tackles, 5.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries despite drawing numerous double teams. The defensive line also included a pair of Tennessee State seniors in Samquan Evans and Anthony Bass. Evans and Bass helped the Tigers rank first in the OVC in total defense as Evans notched 44 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 tackles and five quarterback hurries while Bass added 36 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, 7.0 sacks and five quarterback hurries. The linebackers included another Tennessee State player in senior Nick Thrasher, who had 128 tackles (the second-most in the OVC), 11.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks, UT Martin senior Tony Bell and Eastern Illinois junior Kamu Grugier-Hill. Bell, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, ranked ninth nationally in tackles-for-loss (1.8/game) and sixth in fumbles recovered (3) while adding 76 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, an interception and two forced fumbles. Grugier-Hill led EIU with 97 tackles while adding 9.5 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, three pass breakups, five quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The defensive backs included Tennessee State senior De’Ante Saunders, Tennessee Tech senior Marty Jones, Jacksonville State junior Jermaine Hough and Eastern Illinois junior Jourdan Wickliffe. Saunders had an OVC-best five interceptions on the season while tallying 51 tackles and six pass breakups. Jones had four interceptions in one game this season (tying the OVC single-game record) in earning National Defensive Player of the Week honors; the senior also ranked 27th nationally in tackles/game (9.4). Hough added four interceptions and ranked 20th nationally in passes defended (1.2/game) while Wickliffe had four interceptions to go along with 62 tackles.

The first-team All-OVC specialists included three first-time honorees in Southeast Missouri State sophomore kicker Ryan McCrum, Jacksonville State junior punter Hamish MacInnes and Murray State junior return specialist Pokey Harris. McCrum was the only kicker in the FCS to kick four field goals of 50 yards of longer this season, connecting from 55, 54, 52 and 51 yards (the 55-yard was the third-longest nationally). Overall the sophomore, who ranks fifth nationally in field goals/game (1.5), made nine field goals of 40 yards or longer while four of his five misses came from 43 yards of longer. MacInnes averaged 39.5 yards/punt including a long of 58 yards, had six punts of 50-plus yards and 14 that were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Harris ranked sixth nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 28.8 yards/return, and returned three kicks for touchdowns, which led all FCS players. In back-to-back weeks he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, becoming just the third player in OVC history to have multiple 100-yard touchdown returns in a career (and one of just 12 total 100-yard kickoff returns in league history).

The All-OVC second-team offensive unit included Eastern Illinois junior quarterback Jalen Whitlow (2,075 passing yards, 15 passing TDs, 792 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs) and a pair of running backs in UT Martin senior Abou Toure (1,138 yards, 8 TDs) and Southeast Missouri State junior DeMichael Jackson (734 yards, 5 rushing TDs, 2 receiving TDs). The second-team also included Murray State senior Janawski Davis (63 catches, 909 yards, a league-best 13 TDs), Jacksonville State sophomore wide receiver Josh Barge (53 catches, 867 yards, 4 TDs) and JSU senior tight end Bo Brummel (7 catches, 124 yards, 4 TDs). The second-team offensive line picks were Eastern Illinois junior center Nick Borre and sophomore tackle Evan Kanz, Eastern Kentucky junior guard Trey Shelton, Tennessee State senior guard Robert Myers and JSU’s Lea, the OVC Freshman of the Year.

The second-team defensive line included a pair of Jacksonville State players in senior Caleb Lawrence (25 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks) and junior Chris Landrum (31 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 3 FF) as well as Eastern Illinois junior Dino Fanti (64 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 6 QBH) and Tennessee State junior Gabe Terry (24 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 11.5 sacks). The linebackers included Jacksonville State senior Ben Endress (97 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks), Eastern Kentucky senior Tyrell Johnson (75 tackles, 2.5 TFL) and Eastern Illinois senior Robert Haynes (75 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks). The defensive backs were Eastern Kentucky senior Brandon Stanley (109 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 4 INTs, 2 FF), Tennessee State senior Daniel Fitzpatrick (56 tackles, 2 INT, 5 PBU), Southeast Missouri State senior Tim Hamm-Bey (45 tackles, 2 INT, 10 PBU) and Tennessee Tech senior Austin Tallant (101 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 INT, 3 FF).

The second-team specialists were Eastern Kentucky senior kicker Andrew Lloyd (14-of-19 FGs, 42-of-43 PATs) and a pair of Tennessee Tech teammates in redshirt freshman punter Jonathan King (41.5 yards/punt, 28 inside opponent’s 20-yard line) and junior return specialist Ladarius Vanlier (2 punt return touchdowns, 1 kickoff return touchdown).

Eleven players were selected to the All-OVC Newcomer squad; to be selected to the team an individual had to be a first-year player (freshman or transfer) in the OVC. One of the selections was JSU’s Lea, who was the OVC Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-OVC pick. The squad also included seven other players who were either first or second-team All-OVC selections including EKU’s Mobley (Offensive Player of the Year and first-team running back), JSU’s Sigler (Defensive Player of the Year and first-team defensive lineman), Fanning (first-team defensive lineman) and Brummel (second-team tight end), EIU’s Whitlow (second-team quarterback), TSU’s Terry (second-team defensive line) and TTU’s King (second-team punter). The remaining All-Newcomer selections included Eastern Illinois freshman kicker/punter Nick Bruno (14-of-16 FGs, 44-of-45 PATs, 34.7 yards/punt), Tennessee Tech freshman wide receiver Brock McCoin (43 catches, 517 yards, 2 TDs) and UT Martin junior linebacker Nick Dance (56 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2 FF).

2014 All-OVC Football Teams and Award Winners

OVC Offensive Player of the Year: Dy’Shawn Mobley (RB), Eastern Kentucky
OVC Defensive Player of the Year: Devaunte Sigler (DT), Jacksonville State
OVC Freshman of the Year: Justin Lea (OT), Jacksonville State
OVC Roy Kidd Coach of the Year: John Grass, Jacksonville State

QB – Eli Jenkins, Jacksonville State
RB – Dy’Shawn Mobley, Eastern Kentucky
RB – DaMarcus James, Jacksonville State
WR – Adam Drake, Eastern Illinois
WR – Paul McRoberts, Southeast Missouri
TE – Jeff LePak, Eastern Illinois
C – Max Holcombe, Jacksonville State
OG – Collin Seibert, Eastern Illinois
OG – Adam Wright, Jacksonville State
OT – Charles Sweeton, UT Martin
OT – Brett Eyckmans, Eastern Kentucky

DL – Devaunte Sigler, Jacksonville Stat
DL – LaMichael Fanning, Jacksonville State
DL – Samquan Evans, Tennessee State
DL – Anthony Bass, Tennessee State
LB – Tony Bell, UT Martin
LB – Nick Thrasher, Tennessee State
LB – Kamu Grugier-Hill, Eastern Illinois
DB – De’Ante Saunders, Tennessee State
DB – Jermaine Hough, Jacksonville State
DB – Jourdan Wickliffe, Eastern Illinois
DB – Marty Jones, Tennessee Tech

K – Ryan McCrum, Southeast Missouri
P – Hamish MacInnes, Jacksonville State
RS – Pokey Harris, Murray State

QB – Jalen Whitlow, Eastern Illinois
RB – Abou Toure, UT Martin
RB – DeMichael Jackson, Southeast Missouri
WR – Josh Barge, Jacksonville State
WR – Janawski Davis, Murray State
TE – Bo Brummel, Jacksonville State
C – Nick Borre, Eastern Illinois
OG – Trey Shelton, Eastern Kentucky
OG – Robert Myers, Tennessee State
OT – Justin Lea, Jacksonville State
OT – Evan Kanz, Eastern Illinois

DL – Dino Fanti, Eastern Illinois
DL – Chris Landrum, Jacksonville State
DL – Caleb Lawrence, Jacksonville State
DL – Gabe Terry, Tennessee State
LB – Ben Endress, Jacksonville State
LB – Tyrelle Johnson, Eastern Kentucky
LB – Robert Haynes, Eastern Illinois
DB – Brandon Stanley, Eastern Kentucky
DB – Daniel Fitzpatrick Tennessee State
DB – Tim Hamm-Bey, Southeast Missouri
DB – Austin Tallant, Tennessee Tech

K – Andrew Lloyd, Eastern Kentucky
P – Jonathan King, Tennessee Tech
RS – Ladarius Vanlier, Tennessee Tech

QB – Jalen Whitlow, Eastern Illinois
K/P – Nick Bruno, Eastern Illinois
RB – Dy’Shawn Mobley, Eastern Kentucky
OT – Justin Lea, Jacksonville State
DE – LaMichael Fanning, Jacksonville State
DT – Devaunte Sigler, Jacksonville State
TE – Bo Brummel, Jacksonville State
DE – Gabe Terry, Tennessee State
WR – Brock McCoin, Tennessee Tech
P – Jonathan King, Tennessee Tech
LB – Nick Dance, UT Martin

Note: The All-Newcomer team is comprised of first-year players in the OVC – that can be either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or first-year transfers. The team consists of 11 total players and is not voted on by position.

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