From Arkansas Tech University
Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys Football placed four players on the All-Gulf South Conference Football Team released by the league office on Thursday.
The All-GSC team is selected by the league's head coaches and the coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.
Tech had four players selected, including two First-Team defensive selections. The Wonder Boys selected as first team honorees were senior linebacker Brandon Wright (Stuttgart, Ark.) and senior defensive back Antonio Charles (Sarasota, Fla.), while senior defensive end Derandus Frye (New Orleans, La.) and junior defensive lineman Garret Ratcliff (Summit, Miss.) was named to the kick blocking team.
Wright jumps up to the first team this year after being a second time honoree last season, while Charles, Frye and Ratcliff all earn their first All-GSC accolade.
North Alabama and Ouachita Baptist led the way with 11 and 10 overall selections as UNA had a league-best six First-Team honorees and OBU had five first team honorees. Delta State and Henderson State each had eight players selected, including three First-Team honorees apiece, while Valdosta State and West Alabama each had six players selected. Arkansas-Monticello had five selections, including four first teamers and Tech and West Georgia each had four players honored and they were followed by Southern Arkansas, who had three honorees.
As for the individual awards handed out by the league, Henderson State senior quarterback Nick Hardesty was named the GSC Offensive Player of the Year, while Valdosta State senior linebacker Larry Dean was name the league's Defensive Player of the Year and Henderson State's Scott Maxfield, Harding's Ronnie Huckeba and Valdosta State's David Dean all shared GSC Coach of the Year honors. It is the second consecutive year the GSC named more than one Coach of the Year and the first time the league has ever had three coaches share the award. In addition, West Georgia offensive tackle Brandon White was named the GSC Offensive Freshman of the Year, while Delta State linebacker Xavier Triplett was named the GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year.
With Tech's two first-team selections this season, the Wonder Boys have now had 32 different players named First-Team All-GSC selections since joining the league in 1995.
Wright, who was named a Second-Team All-GSC honoree last season, moves up to the first team this year after playing in all 11 games and making 10 starts for the Wonder Boys at linebacker. On the season, Wright recorded a team-best 14.0 tackles for 84 yards in losses and had a team-best five sacks for 49 yards in losses. In addition, Wright was second on the team in tackles with 44, including 22 solo stops, forced two fumbles and had three fumble recoveries, including returning a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown and also returning a fumble 16 yards for a score against Southern Arkansas. He also recorded three quarterback hurries and was part of a Tech defensive unit that recorded 26 sacks, which is tied for the third-most in the school's Division II era and had 71 tackles for a loss, which is tied for seventh on the school's D-II era chart. In his career, Wright played in 42 games and made 28 starts and had 123 career tackles, 30.5 career tackles for loss, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two interceptions and scored three touchdowns.
Charles earns his First-Team selection this season after leading the Wonder Boys with 87 total tackles, including 57 solo stops. The 87 tackles was sixth-best in the GSC. Along with his 87 tackles, Charles, who played in and started all 11 games for the Wonder Boys, also had 8.5 tackles for 58 yards in losses and two sacks. He also recorded two interceptions, broke up four passes, had three quarterback hurries and blocked a punt that led to a touchdown in Tech's season opening win over Lambuth. In his two-year career at Tech, Charles, who was a transfer from Fort Scott Community College, recorded 132 total tackles, including 75 solo stops and had 16.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 career sacks, two interceptions, seven career pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries.
Frye, who was named one of the 13 candidates on Thursday from Super Region Two for this year's Gene Upshaw Awards, earns his Second-Team All-GSC selection after recording 39 total tackles, including 25 solo stops and being second on the team in both tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (4.5). Along with that, Frye, who played in and started all 11 games this season for the Wonder Boys, recorded seven pass break-ups, three quarterback hurries and forced two fumbles. Frye anchored a Tech defensive line that recorded 13.5 of Tech's 26 sacks and had 29 of Tech's 71 tackles for loss. In his two years at Tech, Frye, who was a transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College, recorded 56 tackles, including 31 solo stops in 23 games. In addition, he had 15.0 career tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, eight pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick.
Ratcliff earns his Second-Team honors on the kick blocking team after being Tech's high point man during the season on all special team units. On the season, Ratcliff earned five Special Team MVP honors by the Tech coaches. Ratcliff played in all 11 games and recorded 13 tackles and scored a touchdown in Tech's season opening win over Lambuth as he scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 38 yards to the end zone.
Joining Wright and Charles on the All-GSC first team defense was Dean, Harding senior defensive lineman Marcus Jones, North Alabama senior defensive lineman Courtney Harris, Southern Arkansas senior defensive lineman Cedric Thornton, Valdosta State senior defensive lineman Demario Jones, Arkansas-Monticello senior linebacker Carlton Johnson, North Alabama senior linebacker Hilliard Foster, North Alabama senior linebacker Harrison Bryant, Delta State senior defensive back Garrett Williams, North Alabama senior defensive back Chad Daniel, Valdosta State senior defensive back Stevie Harden and Harding senior defensive lineman Jermaine Blanchard earned a spot as a utility player.
On offense, the first team honorees are Hardesty, Delta State senior running back Trevar Deed, Harding junior running back Kale Gelles, Arkansas-Monticello senior receiver Jywin Ceaser, senior receiver L.J. Castile, Henderson State senior receiver Chris Evering, Ouachita Baptist sophomore receiver Brett Reece, West Alabama junior receiver Gerald Worsham, Valdosta State senior all-purpose back Ronnye Nelson, Harding senior center Chris Ross, North Alabama senior guard Kyle Thornton, Ouachita Baptist junior guard Kyle Smith, Harding sophomore tackle Tory Day, Ouachita Baptist junior tackle Roy Richard, Ouachita Baptist junior tackle Cory Godbolt and West Alabama senior tackle Jared Porter.
The first team special teams unit consisted of Ouachita Baptist sophomore kicker Jason Fowler, Arkansas-Monticello junior punter Derek Jambon, Southern Arkansas sophomore return specialist Rafael Thomas, West Alabama junior return specialist Wes Mounger, Arkansas-Monticello junior kick block team member Blake Prince and North Alabama senior kick block team member Jusmon Rivers.
Frye and Triplett were joined on the second team defensive unit by North Alabama senior defensive lineman Steven Wesley, Ouachita Baptist senior defensive lineman Bryan Church, West Georgia senior defensive lineman Jeremy Cook, Harding senior linebacker Jason Thomasson, Henderson State senior linebacker Steve Butrick, West Georgia senior linebacker Travis Peyton, Arkansas-Monticello junior defensive back Royel Johnson, Delta State junior defensive back Dominique Davenport, Ouachita Baptist sophomore defensive back Dijon Benton, Southern Arkansas senior defensive back Daren Lewis, Valdosta State senior defensive back Dudley Spence, West Georgia senior defensive back Ken Hale and Henderson State senior Mike Wightman was named as a utility player.
Ratcliff was joined on the second team special teams unit by North Alabama sophomore kicker Josh Montgomery, Valdosta State junior punter Jack Fulford, Harding junior return specialist Jeremy Holt, West Georgia freshman return specialist Denarius Appling.