IRVING, Texas — After winning the league title in back-to-back seasons, WKU had 21 student-athletes earn spots on the 2016 All-Conference USA squads as voted on by league head coaches, the conference announced Tuesday.
The Hilltoppers led C-USA with 14 players combined on the First and Second Teams, while adding six Honorable Mention and one All-Freshman selection. The 21 honorees were the most-ever for WKU in the FBS Era, eclipsing the mark of 17 in 2015, which had bested the 15 from the program’s inaugural C-USA season in 2014.
WKU’s 2016 All-Conference USA honorees are:
All-Conference USA First Team
Keith Brown, LB, G-Sr. — 123 tackles (led C-USA), 12.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 9 PBU, 1 INT
Nacarius Fant, PR, Jr. — 11 returns, 172 yards, 15.6 avg., 2 touchdowns (led C-USA)
Max Halpin, C, R-Sr. — 27 consecutive starts, 2016 Burlsworth Trophy Nominee
Forrest Lamp, LT, R-Sr. — Rated the No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation by PFF
Branden Leston, S, R-Sr. — 87 tackles (second among DB in C-USA), 7 PBU, 1 INT
Taywan Taylor, WR, Sr. — 89 receptions, 1,586 yards (led C-USA), 16 touchdowns
All-Conference USA Second Team
Joe Brown, CB, Jr. — 41 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 9 PBU, 1 INT, 1 two-point return
Omarius Bryant, DT, Sr. — 35 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 17 QBH (led C-USA)
Jake Collins, P, R-So. — 36 punts, 42.9 avg., 39.3 net, 7 FC, 10 inside the 20, 7 of 50+
Nicholas Norris, WR, Sr. — 73 catches, 1,253 yards, 13 touchdowns, 221 rush yards
Kylen Towner, KR, R-Jr. — 25 returns, 1,021 yards, 40.8 avg. (led FBS), 1 touchdown
Anthony Wales, RB, R-Sr. — 202 carries, 1,376 yards, 24 touchdowns (second in FBS)
Mike White, QB, R-Jr. — 4,027 yards, 34-6 TD-INT ratio, 10.4 yards/att. (second in FBS)
Darrell Williams, Jr., RT, R-Sr. — 37 consecutive starts, 1 of 4 OL to start every game
All-Conference USA Honorable Mention
Nolan Dowling, LS, R-Sr. — 52 consecutive starts, third-consecutive Honorable Mention
Chris Johnson, DT, Jr. — 39 tackles (led DL on team), 11.5 TFL (led team), 4 sacks
Leverick Johnson, CB, Jr. — 39 tackles, 7 PBU, 2 INT (tied for team lead), 1 touchdown
Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, R-So. — 64 tackles, 10 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 5 QBH, 1 FF
T.J. McCollum, LB, R-Jr. — 85 tackles (missed two games), 4 TFL, 3 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FF
Skyler Simcox, K, So. — 15 for 20 FGA, 2 of 50+, 64-64 PAT (most in FBS with 100%)
All-Conference USA Freshman Team
Quinton Baker, RB, Fr. — 97 carries, 533 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 games of 100+ yards
Left tackle Forrest Lamp and wide receiver Taywan Taylor – both invitees to the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl – earned spots on the First Team for the second-consecutive year, while running back Anthony Wales and kick returner Kylen Towner were voted to the Second Team for the second-straight season.
Wide receiver Nicholas Norris jumped from an Honorable Mention selection in 2015 to a Second Teamer, while punter Jake Collins went from an All-Freshman selection in 2015 to a Second Teamer as well.
Making their first appearances on the First Team were Keith Brown, Max Halpin, Nacarius Fant and Branden Leston. Meanwhile, Joe Brown, Omarius Bryant, Mike White and Darrell Williams, Jr. were voted to the Second Team for the first time.
For back-to-back seasons, linebacker T.J. McCollum and long snapper Nolan Dowling were Honorable Mention. Finally, Chris Johnson, Leverick Johnson, Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Skyler Simcox earned Honorable Mention for the first time.
Running back Quinton Baker represents the Hilltoppers on the All-Freshman team, after WKU had three on the rookie squad in 2015.
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