Harbor Headlines Group of Seven All-Valley Football Players
All-American tight end Clay Harbor (Jr., Dwight, Ill.) is Missouri State's top honoree in the Missouri Valley Football Conference postseason awards announced today. Harbor is a first-team All-Valley selection, while Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.), Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) and David Arkin (So., OG, Wichita, Kan.) were named to the MVFC Second Team.
Also recognized were honorable mention selections Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.), Cedric Alvis (Jr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) and Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.). The conference's All-Academic team will be announced Tuesday, while the All-Newcomer selections will be released Wednesday.
Harbor had 40 receptions for 457 yards this season for the Bears (4-7), both tops on the squad and was the Valley preseason all-conference tight end, while earning second-team preseason All-America honors. He was also a 2007 All-Valley tight end and finished sixth in the conference this year in receptions per game (3.64) and receiving yards per game (41.55), both tops among league tight ends. He extended his active streak to 22 consecutive games with at least one pass reception this season and posted a career high eight catches for 113 yards against preseason league favorite North Dakota State on November 15. He became the 15th Missouri State receiver to eclipse 1,000 career yards and was a two-time Coors Player of the Week recipient this year.
Kirby was the league's preseason all-conference quarterback and earned MVFC Offensive Player of the Week honors on October 18 for his role in leading the Bears to a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind rally to defeat Illinois State. He had seven passing efforts of 190 yards or better this season, including five 200-yard games, to finish the year with 2,014 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was second in the Valley in total offense this season (202.45) and 53rd nationally, while finishing third on the squad in rushing (213) and points scored (54). Kirby led the Bears to three go-ahead or tying scores in the fourth quarter this season, two of which ultimately led to Missouri State victories. After his sophomore season, he is fourth on MSU's career list in passing attempts (566), second in completions (330), sixth in passing yards, fourth in touchdown passes (26), and fourth in total offense (4187). The Bears' co-captain also was a two-time MSU Coors Player of the Week recipient this season. In 2007, he was a two-time Valley Player of the Week and was named to the All-Newcomer Team.
Fellow sophomore Arkin graded out at 86 percent for the season for the Bears, starting all 11 games at offensive guard. He was named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Week four times this season, also gaining the squad's Offensive Player of the Week distinction twice. He was a 2008 All-Valley preseason selection in addition to being named to the league's All-Newcomer Team and Second-Team All-Conference squads last season. Arkin also helped the Bears post the 69th best rushing offense (130.0 yards per game) in the nation this season and the 72nd best passing offense (182.9).
Wright led the Bears' defense with 92 total tackles this season, including 45 solo stops and 3.5 tackles for loss. He was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week on October 11 after posting 12 tackles and 2.5 TFLs in the team's home win over Youngstown State. He was fifth in the conference in tackles and tied for 55th nationally. The Missouri State co-captain had four games with double-figure tackles, including 14 stops at both Illinois State on October 18 and at South Dakota State on November 1. Wright was a 2007 Valley Football honorable mention pick on the all-conference team.
The team's three honorable mention selections also had outstanding seasons. Smith finished second on the squad in tackles with 79, including 43 solo stops and two tackles for loss. He was 16th in the league in tackles (7.27) per game, and had a season-high 11 tackles in the team's loss at Oklahoma State on September 13. He posted nine passes defended, a fumble recovery and a sack, while earning MSU Coors Player of the Week honors once this season.
Geisz led the MSU receiving corps in receiving touchdowns, including the game-tying catch as time expired against Indiana State on November 22. He was third on the squad in receptions (25) and second in receiving yards (344), while posting six touchdowns -- in six different games -- to finish third on the squad in scoring. Geisz is also a three-time Valley All-Academic Team honoree.
Alvis started all 11 games and finished the season with 50 tackles from his cornerback spot with a pair of interceptions and eight pass break-ups. He also recovered a fumble and had a tackle for loss. He was named the team's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in two of the team's final three games, including the Bears' overtime win at Indiana State on November 22.