Wilkinson Newcomer of the Year; Five Bears on Valley Newcomer Team
Missouri State inside linebacker Antoine Wilkinson was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year, the league announced Monday, as one of five MSU players on this year's All-Newcomer squad.
Wilkinson (6-2, 220, Jr., LB, Magnolia, Miss), a transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College, was the lone newcomer to earn First-Team All-MVFC honors this year. The starting linebacker led the Bears with 113 total tackles, including 42 solo stops and five tackles for loss. He also recorded a team-high eight pass break-ups, forced two fumbles and recovered one fumble. He's the first Missouri State player to record 100+ tackles since 2004, while ranking No. 2 in the conference and 18th nationally with 10.27 tackles per game. Wilkinson was a key component to MSU's defense improving by 119.4 yards per game in 2009
Also on the All-Newcomer Team was running back Mikael Cooper-Falls (5-11, 195, Fr., TB, Springfield, Mo.) who led the Bears in rushing as a true freshman, despite playing just nine games. He earned two starts and averaged 4.6 yards per carry, tallying 424 yards on 92 attempts with a pair of touchdowns. He recorded Missouri State's first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 105 yards on 16 carries at North Dakota State.
Cadarrius Dotson (5-9, 165, Fr., WR, Memphis, Tenn.) played all 11 games and started 10 times as a true freshman. He finished second on the team in pass receptions (28), behind Clay Harbor, and tallied 244 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He posted a career-best five receptions for 38 yards in the Indiana state game and also notched four 4 catches for 38 yards and his first touchdown against Murray State.
Two fellow MSU linebackers joined Wilkinson on the All-Newcomer squad with Adam Beauchamp (6-0, 239, Jr., LB, Prescott Valley, Ariz.) and Michael Keck (6-4, 216, So., LB Harrisonville, Mo.) also earning recognition.
Beauchamp started all 11 games and was third on the Bears' squad with 80 total tackles. He pulled down 24 opposing ball carriers solo and accumulated 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 pass break-ups and a forced fumble. He also posted six games with eight or more tackles, including 10 stops vs. UT Martin and Indiana State. Beauchamp is a transfer from Glendale (Ariz.) Community College.
Keck also started all 11 games and finished with 65 total tackles. His 27 solo stops was third on the squad, while he was second on the team in tackles for loss with 6.5 for a team-high 35 yards. Keck also was in on 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He had six games with at least six tackles this fall, including a season-high 11 tackles against Illinois State and 9 tackles in the Bears' win over UT Martin. He is a transfer from the University of Missouri.
Missouri State finished the 2009 campaign with a 6-5 overall record and 4-4 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Last week, eight MSU players were named to the All-MVFC squad, including first-team selections Wilkinson, Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) and David Arkin (Jr., OL, Wichita, Kan.). 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.