BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Five Eastern Kentucky University football players, featuring four seniors and one junior, were named first team All-Ohio Valley Conference the league office announced Tuesday. Eight others earned second team all-league honors.
The Colonels led the way with 13 total selections across the first-team, second-team and All-Newcomer squads. However, only five of those 13 players will be returning to the EKU squad in 2013.
Seniors Matt Denham (running back) and Aaron Adams (offensive tackle), along with junior Anthony Brown (linebacker) earned first team All-OVC honors for the second straight year. Denham, a native of Rineyville, Ky., is the first Eastern running back to reach 1,000 yards rushing in back-to-back years since 2002. The Walter Payton Award candidate capped his Colonel career with 214 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 55-24 win over Murray State on Nov. 10.
Adams is a two-year starter on the EKU offensive line. The native of Lake Worth, Fla., began the year at right tackle, but was forced to slide over to left tackle midway through the season due to injuries.
Brown made the move from defensive lineman to linebacker in 2012. He ranked second in the league in tackles for loss with 12.5. Brown also chipped in with 60 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. The native of Cincinnati, Ohio should be a leading candidate for OVC Defensive Player of the Year next fall.
Two other defensive players came away with first team accolades – Robert Knowles (defensive lineman) and Brooklyn Fox (defensive back). Knowles stood out on a defensive line that ranked ninth nationally in rushing defense (108.2 yards per game). Hailing from Lexington, Knowles paced the Colonels and ranked second in the league with five sacks.
Finally, Fox anchored the secondary with six interceptions in his senior campaign. Only one person at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level has more interceptions this season. The native of Tulsa, Okla., was a three-year starter at safety and was twice named OVC Defensive Player of the Week in 2012.
Justin Bell (defensive back), Patrick Ford (offensive tackle), Tyrone Goard (wide receiver), Kevin Hamlin (linebacker), Justin Meredith (offensive guard), Shawn Shupperd (defensive lineman), Brandon Stanley (defensive back) and Ichiro Vance (linebacker) were named to the All-OVC second team. Meredith, Shupperd, Stanley and Vance all return next year for the Colonels.
Eastern Kentucky (8-3, 6-2 OVC) was left out of the FCS playoffs, but finished the year ranked No. 16 in FCS coaches poll and No. 21 in The Sports Network poll.