Eight earn all-conference honors

Amos, James, Whatley on first team

December 5, 2012 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee had eight players honored today as the All-Sun Belt Conference teams were announced by the league office. Voting was done by the head coaches and selected media representatives.

The Blue Raiders had three first team selections, three second team selections and two on the honorable mention list.

First team accolades went to wide receiver Anthony Amos, center Micah James, and return specialist Reggie Whatley, while second team honors were garnered by running back Benny Cunningham, defensive end Omar McLendon, and safety Kevin Byard.

Amos enjoyed a career year with 72 catches for 992 yards and nine touchdowns, falling just shy of becoming only the second 1,000-yard receiver in school history. The senior from Fayetteville, NC, had the highlight play of the year with his one-handed touchdown grab in the win over Georgia Tech.

James, a senior from Landover, MD, started all 12 games and anchored a unit that ranked third nationally in fewest sacks allowed.

Whatley, a sophomore out of Rome, GA, proved to be quite the weapon returning kicks in 2012. He led the league and ranked fourth nationally with a 30.5-yard average, which was also a new school record. In a win at WKU, Whatley had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a school record 222 kickoff return yards. Whatley is the first returner for MT to earn first team honors since Damon Nickson in 2006.

Despite playing just two conference games, Cunningham impressed enough early to take home second team honors. Cunningham, who led the upset at Georgia Tech with 217 yards rushing and five touchdowns, also topped the 200-yard mark in a win at FIU with 230 yards.

McLendon, an honorable mention pick last year, led an improved Raider defense with 34 tackles, 5.0 TFLs, two sacks, and four quarterback hurries.

Byard, a redshirt freshman from Lithonia, GA, came up with numerous plays for the Blue Raiders all year. In a win at Memphis he returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown and provided the game-winning score against Troy with a pick he brought back 77 yards for a touchdown. For the year, Byard collected 74 tackles, led the team with four interceptions, and forced two fumbles.

Honorable mention honors went to quarterback Logan Kilgore and offensive lineman Josh Walker. Kilgore became just the second signal-caller in school history to record back-to-back 2,000-yard passing seasons with 2,571 yards, while throwing 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Walker led an offensive line that helped produce three different 100-yard rushers and allowed just seven sacks all season.

In seven years under Rick Stockstill, the Blue Raiders have registered 45 first and second team all-conference honors (25 first team and 20 second team).

2012 All-Sun Belt Conference Football Teams
As voted on by the league head coaches and media

Player of the Year
Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)

Offensive Player of the Year
Kolton Browning (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Jr., QB)

Defensive Player of the Year
Quanterus Smith (WKU, Sr., DL)

Freshman of the Year
J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State, Fr., WR)

Coach of the Year
Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense
Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)
David Oku (Arkansas State, Jr., RB)
Antonio Andrews (WKU, Jr., RB)
Brent Leonard (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Sr., WR)
Anthony Amos (Middle Tennessee, r-Sr., WR)
Chip Reeves (Troy, WR, Sr.)
Jack Doyle (WKU, Sr., TE)
Zack McKnight (Arkansas State, Sr., OL)
Micah James (Middle Tennessee, Sr., OL)
Aaron Fortenberry (North Texas, Sr., OL)
Kyle Wilborn (Troy, Sr., OL)
Adam Smith (WKU, Sr., OL)

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense
Ryan Carrethers (Arkansas State, Jr., DL)
Tourek Williams (FIU, Sr., DL)
Emeka Onyenekwu (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DL)
Quanterus Smith (WKU, Sr., DL)
Nathan Herrold (Arkansas State, Sr., LB)
Jake Johnson (South Alabama, Sr., LB)
Andrew Jackson (WKU, Jr., LB)
Johnathan Cyprien (FIU, Sr., DB)
Jemarlous Moten (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DB)
Brynden Trawick (Troy, Sr., DB)
Jonathan Dowling (WKU, So., DB)

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Special Teams
Brett Baer Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., K)
Brett Baer Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., P)
Reggie Whatley (Middle Tennessee, r-So., Return Specialist)
Antonio Andrews (WKU, Jr., All Purpose)

Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense
Kolton Browning (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Jr., QB)
Benny Cunningham (Middle Tennessee, Sr., RB)
Shawn Southward (Troy, RB, Sr.)
J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State, Fr., WR)
William Dukes (Florida Atlantic, So, WR)
Harry Peoples (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., WR)
Nexon Dorvilus (Florida Atlantic, Jr, TE)
Caylin Hauptmann (FIU, Sr., OL)
Leonardo Bates (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL)
Jonathon Gill (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Sr., OL)
Andrew Huval (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., OL)
Josh Allen (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., OL)

Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense
Tim Starson (Arkansas State, Sr., DL)
Omar McLendon (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DL)
Alex Page (South Alabama, Jr., DL)
R.J. Young (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Sr., LB)
Tony Davis (Troy, Sr., DL)
Zach Orr (North Texas, Jr., LB)
Kanorris Davis (Troy, Sr., LB)
Brent Harstad (Florida Atlantic, Sr., DB)
Isaiah Newsome (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Jr., DB)
Kevin Byard (Middle Tennessee, r-Fr., DB)
Zac Whitfield (North Texas, Fr., DB)

Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Special Teams
Brian Davis (Arkansas State, Jr., K)
Will Atterberry (North Texas, Sr., P)
Deon Anthony (Troy, Jr., All Purpose)
Antonio Andrews (WKU, Jr., RS)

All-Sun Belt Conference Honorable Mention
Taylor Stockemer (Arkansas State, Sr., WR); Qushaun Lee (Arkansas State, So., LB); Daniel McKinney (Florida Atlantic, Jr., WR); Andrae Kirk (Florida Atlantic, So., LB); Rupert Bryan (FIU, Sr., OL); Jose Cheeseborough (FIU, Sr., DB); Terrance Broadway (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., QB); Je'Ron Hamm (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., WR); DaCorris Ford (Louisiana-Monroe, r-Sr., LB); Logan Kilgore (Middle Tennessee, r-Jr., QB); Josh Walker (Middle Tennessee, r-Jr., OL); Cyril Lemon (North Texas, So., OL); Mason Y'Barbo (North Texas, So., OL); Enrique Williams (South Alabama, Jr., LB); B.J. Scott (South Alabama, Sr., DB); Corey Robinson (Troy, Jr., QB); Eric Thomas (Troy, WR, Jr.); Kawaun Jakes (WKU, Sr., QB); Jamarcus Allen (WKU, Sr., DL)

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.