Bears dominate Gateway Newcomer list; Cody Kirby league Freshman of Year
Head coach Terry Allen’s confidence in the quality of the newcomers on his Missouri State football team was borne out in the Bears’ dominance of the 2007 Gateway Football Conference All-Newcomer team, highlighted by the selection of QB Cody Kirby as the league’s Freshman of the Year. The All-Newcomer team, selected by a vote of the league head coaches and media representatives, was announced by the league office Wednesday.
Kirby is one of six Bears on the 23-man All-Newcomer team. He’s joined by Bear teammates OG David Arkin, OT Kevaughn Brown, TB Kingjack Washington, DE Clayton Dickehut and CB Derek Miller. Youngstown State and UNI were next with five selections each on the team, followed by Western Illinois with three, Illinois State with two, Southern Illinois with one and Indiana State with one.
Kirby’s selection as league Freshman of the Year marks the first time in its nine-year history that award has gone to a Missouri State player. The league Newcomer of the Year was WR Ferlando Williams of Youngstown State.
Kirby was the triggerman for one of the most prolific offensive attacks in Missouri State football history this past season. The Bears averaged 36.3 points a game, the highest in school history for an 11-game season. Kirby, a product of Rogers (Ark.) High, had the highest totals ever for a Missouri State freshman in pass attempts (246), completions (149), passing yards (1,742) and passing touchdowns (11). He ran for eight touchdowns, the most TDs scored by a Bears’ quarterback since 1990.
Brown and Vaughn were part of the completely-rebuilt blocking contingent up front. Brown was a junior college transfer and played left tackle while Brown, a redshirt freshman, was named Tuesday to the all-Gateway second team. Washington was the Bears’ second leading rusher on the season with 674 yards. He added 68 receiving yards and 603 on kickoff returns for a season total of 1,352 all-purpose yards that was third best in the Gateway.
Dickehut and Miller were starters on the Bears’ defensive unit all 11 games. Miller finished third on the unit with 82 tackles, had two recoveries, broke up two passes and had an interception, while Dickehut was in on 39 tackles.
Missouri State finished 6-5 in its second season under Allen and the Bears tied for fifth place in the Gateway.