Thundering Herd land 8 on All-Conference USA teams

By Alex Hawley -

Marshall senior Gary Thompson (59) along with Chase Hancock (37) sack the Akron quarterback, during a non-conference game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, on September 17.

Marshall senior Gary Thompson (59) along with Chase Hancock (37) sack the Akron quarterback, during a non-conference game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, on September 17.

Alex Hawley/OVP Sports

IRVING, Texas — A sure sign that the future looks bright.

The Marshall football team landed eight players on the 2016 Conference USA all-league teams, including four on the all-freshman team.

Conference USA released its all-league first team, second team, honorable mention list and all-freshman team on Tuesday, and the lists were voted on by the 13 coaches within the conference.

Marshall — which went 3-9 this fall, with a 2-6 conference record — was the only league team without a player on the first or second team, but the Herd landed four honorable mentions and four all-freshman team honors.

For the second straight season, defensive lineman Gary Thompson and tightend Ryan Yurachek were named all-conference honorable mention.

Thompson — a redshirt senior from La Mesa, California, — came up with 43 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and five sacks this fall. Thompson is the lone senior honoree for the Herd, and he finishes his college career with 150 tackles and 19 sacks.

Yurachek — a junior from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — hauled in 28 passes for 298 yards and five scores this season. Yurachek has caught at least one pass in 29 consecutive games.

Joining Thompson and Yurachek as all-conference honorable mentions are defensive lineman Ryan Bee and defensive back Rodney Allen.

Bee — a redshirt sophomore from Ashland, Ohio — recorded 54 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks this season. Bee was a Conference USA all-freshman team selection last year.

Allen — a redshirt junior from Dallas, Texas — came up with 76 tackles, 12 pass break-ups, two interceptions and a team-best four forced fumbles this season.

On the all-rookie team for the Herd were redshirt freshmen Ty Tyler and Levi Brown, as well as true freshmen Chris Jackson and Matt Beardall.

Tyler — a defensive end from Punta Gorda, Florida — posted 22 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks this fall. Tyler found the endzone twice for the MU defense, scoing on a pair of fumble recoveries.

Brown — an offensive lineman from Franklin, Georgia — started the first 11 games of the year for MU.

Jackson — a defensive back from Tallahassee, Florida — recorded 41 tackles, four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, nine pass break-ups and two interceptions in his inaugural campaign.

Beardall — a long snapper from Merritt Island, Florida — missed the first three games of the year, but appeared in the final nine for the Herd.

On Wednesday, Conference USA announced its awards.

Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz was named Coach of the Year, after leading the Bulldogs to an 8-5 record, including 6-2 in league. The Bulldogs represented the west division in the Conference USA title game, in which they fell to Western Kentucky.

LTU quarterback Ryan Higgins was named conference Most Valuable Player, completing 300-of-456 passes for 4,208 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Bulldogs wide receiver Carlos Henderson earned both the Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year awards, becoming the first player in Conference USA history to win both awards in the same season.

The Defensive Player of the Year award went to Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who posted 50 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks this campaign.

The Freshman of the Year award went to University of Texas at San Antonio linebacker Josiah Tauaefa, who recorded a school-record 104 tackles this fall.

The league’s Newcomer of the Year honor went to Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White, who led the Hilltoppers to a second straight-conference title. White completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 4,027 yards and 38 touchdowns in his junior season.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.




QB – Ryan Higgins, Sr., Louisiana Tech

RB – I’Tavius Mathers, Sr., Middle Tennessee

RB – Aaron Jones, Jr., UTEP

OL – Darrell Brown, Sr., Louisiana Tech

OL – Cameron Tom, Sr., Southern Miss

OL – Will Hernandez, Jr., UTEP

OL – Max Halpin, Sr., WKU

OL – Forrest Lamp, Sr., WKU

TE – Hayden Plinke, Sr., UTEP

WR – Carlos Henderson, Jr., Louisiana Tech

WR – Trent Taylor, Sr., Louisiana Tech

WR – Richie James, So., Middle Tennessee

WR – Taywan Taylor, Sr., WKU


DL – Larry Ogunjobi, Sr., Charlotte

DL – Trey Hendrickson, Sr., Florida Atlantic

DL – Jaylon Ferguson, So., Louisiana Tech

DL – Dylan Bradley, Sr., Southern Miss

LB – TJ Ricks, Sr., Old Dominion

LB – Emmanuel Ellerbee, Jr., Rice

LB – Josiah Tauaefa, Fr., UTSA

LB – Keith Brown, Sr., WKU

DB – Xavier Woods, Sr., Louisiana Tech

DB – Jeremy Cutrer, Sr., Middle Tennessee

DB – D’Nerius Antoine, Sr., Southern Miss

DB – Branden Leston, Sr., WKU


K – Canon Rooker, Jr., Middle Tennessee

P – Eric Keena, Sr., North Texas

KR – Carlos Henderson, Jr., Louisiana Tech

PR – Nacarius Fant, Jr., WKU

LS – William Eads, Sr., Middle Tennessee



QB – Mike White, Jr., WKU

RB – Ito Smith, Jr., Southern Miss

RB – Anthony Wales, Sr., WKU

OL – Joseph Brunson, Sr., Louisiana Tech

OL – O’Shea Dugas, So., Louisiana Tech

OL – Daniel Stephens, Sr., Middle Tennessee

OL – Troy Butler, Sr., Old Dominion

OL – Darrell Williams, Jr., Sr., WKU

TE – Jonnu Smith, Sr., FIU

WR – Zach Pascal, Sr., Old Dominion

WR – Nicholas Norris, Sr., WKU


DL – Rashaad Coward, Sr., Old Dominion

DL – Oshane Ximines, So., Old Dominion

DL – Marcus Davenport, Jr., UTSA

DL – Omarius Bryant, Sr., WKU

LB – Anthony Wint, Jr., FIU

LB – Jordan Harris, Sr., Louisiana Tech

LB – Alvin Jones, Jr., UTEP

DB – Kishawn McClain, Jr., North Texas

DB – Brandon Addison, Jr., Old Dominion

DB – Michael Egwuagu, Sr., UTSA

DB – Joe Brown, Jr., WKU


K – Jonathan Barnes, Jr., Louisiana Tech

K – Parker Shaunfield, So., Southern Miss

P – Jake Collins, So., WKU

KR – Kylen Towner, Jr., WKU

PR – Trent Taylor, Sr., Louisiana Tech

LS – Darrell Travis, Sr., Louisiana Tech



QB – Brent Stockstill, So., Middle Tennessee

QB – David Washington, Sr., Old Dominion

QB – Nick Mullens, Sr., Southern Miss

RB – Kalif Phillips, Sr., Charlotte

RB – Alex Gardner, Jr., FIU

RB – Devin Singletary, Fr., Florida Atlantic

RB – Jarred Craft, Jr., Louisiana Tech

RB – Ray Lawry, Jr., Old Dominion

OL – Nate Davis, So., Charlotte

OL – Dieugot Joseph, Sr., FIU

OL – Michael Montero, Sr., FIU

OL – Dillon DeBoer, Sr., Florida Atlantic

OL – Antonyo Woods, Jr., Florida Atlantic

OL – Chandler Brewer, So., Middle Tennessee

OL – Josh Chester, Sr., Middle Tennessee

OL – Maurquice Shakir, Sr., Middle Tennessee

OL – Jordan Murray, So., North Texas

OL – Sam Rice, Sr., North Texas

OL – Calvin Anderson, So., Rice

OL – Trey Martin, Jr., Rice

OL – Jevonte Domond, Sr., UTSA

TE – Kam McKnight, So., Louisiana Tech

TE – Ryan Yurachek, Jr., Marshall

TE – Julian Allen, Jr., Southern Miss

WR – Austin Duke, Sr., Charlotte

WR – Thomas Owens, Jr., FIU

WR – Kalib Woods, Jr., Florida Atlantic

WR – Dennis Andrews, Sr., Middle Tennessee

WR – Ty Lee, Fr., Middle Tennessee

WR – Jonathan Duhart, Jr., Old Dominion

WR – Allenzae Staggers, Jr., Southern Miss

WR – Josh Stewart, Jr., UTSA


DL – Brandon Banks, Sr., Charlotte

DL – Aaron Brown, Sr., Louisiana Tech

DL – Deldrick Canty, Jr., Louisiana Tech

DL – Ryan Bee, So., Marshall

DL – Gary Thompson, Sr., Marshall

DL – Chris Hale, Sr., Middle Tennessee

DL – Shaquille Huff, Sr., Middle Tennessee

DL – Jimal McBride, Sr., Middle Tennessee

DL – Steven Rhodes, Sr., Middle Tennessee

DL – Bunmi Rotimi, Jr., Old Dominion

DL – Xavier Thigpen, Jr., Southern Miss

DL – Chris Johnson, Jr., WKU

LB – Nick Cook, Sr., Charlotte

LB – Treyvon Williams, Jr., FIU

LB – Azeez Al-Shaair, So., Florida Atlantic

LB – Russell Farris, Jr., Louisiana Tech

LB – Chris Melton, So., Middle Tennessee

LB – D.J. Sanders, Jr.., Middle Tennessee

LB – Joshua Wheeler, Jr., North Texas

LB – Anthony Wilson, Sr., Old Dominion

LB – Alex Lyons, Sr., Rice

LB – Elijah Parker, Sr., Southern Miss

LB – Nick Usher, Sr., UTEP

LB – Joel Iyiegbuniwe, So., WKU

LB – T.J. McCollum, Jr., WKU

DB – Niko Gonzalez, Jr., FIU

DB – Raekwon Williams, Jr., Florida Atlantic

DB – Jalen Young, So., Florida Atlantic

DB – Secdrick Cooper, Jr., Louisiana Tech

DB – Prince Sam, Sr., Louisiana Tech

DB – Rodney Allen, Jr., Marshall

DB – Nate Brooks, So., North Texas

DB – Eric Jenkins, Jr., North Texas

DB – Tabari McGaskey, Sr., Rice

DB – Jordan Moore, Sr., UTSA

DB – Leverick Johnson, Jr., WKU


K – Austin Taylor, Sr., FIU

K – Greg Joseph, Jr., Florida Atlantic

K – Trevor Moore, Jr., North Texas

K – Skyler Simcox, So., WKU

P – Dalton Schomp, Sr., Florida Atlantic

P – Jack Fox, So., Rice

P – Tyler Sarrazin, Sr., Southern Miss

P – Alan Luna, Jr., UTEP

KR – Chris Montgomery, Jr., Charlotte

KR – Kerrith Whyte, Fr., Florida Atlantic

KR – Tyler Wilson, Fr., North Texas

PR – Terry Juniel, So., UTEP

LS – Keaston Sinicki, Sr., Charlotte

LS – Sam Medlock, Sr., FIU

LS – Reed Buce, Jr., Old Dominion

LS – Matt Bayliss, Jr., UTSA

LS – Nolan Dowling, Sr., WKU



QB – Mason Fine, North Texas

RB – Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

RB – Quinton Baker, WKU

OL – Ethan Reed, Louisiana Tech

OL – Levi Brown, Marshall

OL – Devin Hannan, Old Dominion

OL – Ty Pollard, Southern Miss

OL – Greg Long, UTEP

TE – Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic

WR – Stantley Thomas, FIU

WR – Ty Lee, Middle Tennessee


DL – Eric Kendzior, Louisiana Tech

DL – Ty Tyler, Marshall

DL – Tyshun Render, Middle Tennessee

DL – LaDarius Hamilton, North Texas

DL – Chris Richardson, UTEP

LB – Tyriq Harris, Charlotte

LB – Jayson VanHook, UTEP

LB – Josiah Tauaefa, UTSA

DB – Ben DeLuca, Charlotte

DB – Ephraim Kitchen, Louisiana Tech

DB – Chris Jackson, Marshall

DB – Justin Rogers, UTEP


K – Brad Davis, Old Dominion

P – Bailey Cate, Old Dominion

KR – Kerrith Whyte, Florida Atlantic

PR – Darrell Brown, Old Dominion

LS – Matt Beardall, Marshall

Marshall senior Gary Thompson (59) along with Chase Hancock (37) sack the Akron quarterback, during a non-conference game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, on September 17. senior Gary Thompson (59) along with Chase Hancock (37) sack the Akron quarterback, during a non-conference game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, on September 17. Alex Hawley/OVP Sports

By Alex Hawley