Eight Bears Recognized as All-Valley Football Performers
ST. LOUIS -- Eight Missouri State football players were recognized today as All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections for 2009, including first-teamers Clay Harbor, David Arkin, and Antoine Wilkinson, the league announced.
Two defensive players, Skylar Smith and Waylon Richardet, were named to the Second Team, and three Bears, including Cody Kirby, Jared Emery, and Jordan Chiles were named Honorable Mention All-MVFC.
Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) is a top All-America candidate again this year after collecting a career-high 59 receptions for 729 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had the most receptions by a tight end in the MVFC and was second-most nationally. He is now a three-time All-Valley first-teamer and earned his first Valley Football Offensive Player of Week honors for his effort in the team's win at Western Illinois on October 17. Harbor was a 2008 AP All-America Second-Team and 2007 AP All-America Third Team pick. He ended his Bears' career as the school's all-time receptions leader (150) and was third all-time receiving yards (1,906). He also finished with receptions in 33 straight games to tie the MSU record and notched four 100-yard receiving games this season. He is ranked 12th among all NCAA Division I FCS players this season and No. 1 among all tight ends.
Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan. ) was a 2007 and 2008 All-MVFC Second-Team offensive lineman. Twice this season, he was recognized by the league as Offensive Lineman of the Week, making him a four-time winner of the award (8/30/07, 9/22/07, 10/3/09, 11/7/09). Arkin was a member of the 2007 MVFC All-Newcomer Team and earned a position on the 2007 and 2008 MVFC All-Academic Second Team. Earlier this fall, he was named by CoSIDA / ESPN the Magazine as a member of the Academic All-District 7 First Team. Arkin graded out at 87 percent for the season with 71 knock-down blocks.
Wilkinson (Jr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.), a transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College, started all 11 games at middle linebacker and led MSU with 113 total tackles. He secured 42 solo stops and 5 tackles for loss while notching a team-high 8 pass break-ups and collecting one interception. Wilkinson also forced a pair fumbles and recovered one this season. He became the first MSU player since 2004 to record 100 or more tackles in a season and finished as the No. 2 tackler in the MVFC and No. 18 nationally (10.27). The junior had six games with double-figure tackles and nine games with at least nine tackles. He became first MSU player in six seasons to post 20 tackles in a game with 20 stops vs. Illinois State (10/31/09).
Headlining the second team, Smith (Jr., SS, Springfield, Mo.) moved up a spot after claiming Valley Football Honorable Mention distinction in 2008. He started all 11 games at strong safety and posted 94 tackles, including a team-high 49 solo stops this season. He accumulated 3.5 tackles for loss and broke up 5 passes while returning a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown vs. Murray State (9/19/09). The Bears co-captain ranked fifth in the MVFC in total tackles (8.55) and 59th nationally. He secured four double-figure tackle games in 2009 and had nine games with seven or more stops. Earlier this fall, Smith was named to the 2009 CoSIDA / ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District Second Team.
Richardet (Jr., DE, Perryville, Mo.) also claimed All-MVFC Second Team honors after tallying 43 total tackles, including 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this fall. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and was named a two-time MVFC Defensive Player of the Week (9/16/09, 10/3/09). The utility standout, also blocked one kick and recorded an interception during the 2009 campaign and returned 4 short kickoffs for 49 total yards (12.2).
Missouri State's trio of honorable mention selections was led by Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) who had a career season in passing yards with 2,120, making him just the second MSU quarterback ever to throw for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Kirby was the 2008 Second-Team All-MVFC quarterback and 2007 MVFC Freshman of the Year. In 2009, he completed 181-of-293 passes for a .618 completion percentage, the third most-accurate season in school history. He averaged 192.7 passing yards per game overall and increased his average to 226 yards in games when the Bears threw more than 20 passes. He threw for career-high 341 yards in the Bears' come-from-behind win at Western Illinois (10/17/09). He ranks 52nd nationally in total offense (192.36) and 53rd in passing efficiency (123.85) after breaking the MSU career record for TD passes (now at 37) in 2009. He ranks No. 2 all-time at MSU in completions (511), attempts (859), and yards (5,876).
Emery (Sr., WR, Mountain Grove, Mo.) started 10 games this fall and collected 24 receptions for 370 yards (15.4 ypr) and 2 touchdowns. He had a career-high 7 receptions vs. South Dakota State (10/10/09) and tallied 4 receptions for 91 yards in the team's win at Western Illinois (10/17/09). The 2007 and 2008 MVFC All-Academic Team selection was named to the 2009 CoSIDA / ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District 7 First Team and holds a 3.74 grade point average in microbiology and biotechnology.
Chiles (So., P, Hillsboro, Ill.) tallied 46 punts for 1845 yards and 40.1 average this season, including 13 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and 8 fair caught. He ranks 24th nationally in punting average (40.1) and boosted the Bears to 30th nationally in net punting (34.63). Chiles notched a league-best 75-yard punt at No. 1 Southern Illinois (11/14/09) and owned the three longest punts in the league this season, including a 72-yarder against Northern Iowa (9/26/09). He earned a spot on the 2008 Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team and now has 106 career punts for 38.9 average with 30 downed inside the 20, 17 fair catches and 17 punts of 50 yards or more.
MVFC Offensive Player of the Year honors went to Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim, while Defensive Player of the Year honors were shared by Danny Batten of South Dakota State and James Ruffin of Northern Iowa. SIU head coach Dale Lennon was named Valley Football Coach of the Year.
The league's All-Newcomer Team will be announced Monday.