Tennessee State led all schools with six first-team Ohio Valley Conference football honors, the conference office announced Tuesday.
The Tigers placed 12 on the three teams — first team, second team and all-newcomer — and five of their first-team selections were on offense. TSU finished 8-3 overall, fifth in the conference with a 4-3 record.
Headlining the group was running back Trabis Ward, who scored 15 touchdowns. The junior finished with 309 carries — the most in the Football Championship Subdivision — and ranks third in school history with 1,422 rushing yards.
Tight end A.C. Leonard also earned first-team honors. The transfer from Florida caught 51 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns.
Paving the way for Ward and Leonard, were three first-team offensive linemen: center Sherman Carter, guard Kadeem Edwards and tackle Rogers Gaines.
TSU’s lone defensive first-team selection was Steven Godbolt. The sophomore cornerback intercepted six passes, which per game (0.60) ranked second nationally.
On the second team, was a trio of defensive players who combined for more than 200 tackles: linebacker Nick Thrasher, defensive end Antonio Harper and defensive back Daniel Fitzpatrick. Kicker Jamin Godfrey was named a second-team specialist. The junior from Englewood tied his own school record with a league-high 16 field goals.
On the All-Newcomer team was Leonard and freshman tight end Joe Bowens, who caught 23 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns.
Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri State swept the top four honors. EIU’s Dino Babers was named top coach and wide receiver Erik Lora earned offensive player of the year. SEMO’s Blake Peiffer was tabbed the defensive player of the year and quarterback Scott Lathrop won the freshman of the year.