ROLLA, Mo. – One of the most successful football seasons in history at Missouri S&T has led to a record number of Miners landing post-season honors today from the Great Lakes Valley Conference, including one of the league's major awards.
The Miners had a league-high 22 selections to the 2018 All-GLVC team, including unanimous first-team picks Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca) and Roderick Chapman (Los Angeles, CA/Jefferson) among S&T's 12 first-team selections, while head coach Tyler Fenwick was named as the GLVC's Coach of the Year after guiding the Miners to just the program's fourth season with at least nine wins and a berth to the Mineral Water Bowl.
Missouri S&T finished 9-2 overall and went 6-1 in the GLVC to place second in the conference race as the Miners earned the program's first post-season opportunity since 1950. The Miners were also ranked in the last two NCAA Division II regional rankings for Super Region 3 and just missed reaching the national playoffs, but became the first GLVC team in history to accept an invitational to a bowl game.
Graham – who was also a second-team selection as a kick returner on the All-GLVC team – was a unanimous first-team choice at wide receiver by the league coaches after leading the conference with 61 receptions for 975 and 13 touchdowns, a total that ranks fifth in NCAA Division II. Graham is also eighth in the nation in punt returning with an average of 16.1 yards per return and a touchdown.
Chapman leads the GLVC with 20 passes defended, the fourth-most in the nation, as he has 16 pass breakups and four interceptions. In the Miners' win at Southwest Baptist in September, he tied a GLVC single-game record with three interceptions and became the first player in Miner history to return a kickoff, punt and interception for a touchdown in his career.
Of the 12 first-team selections, six were on the defensive side of the ball. Linebackers Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) and Landon Compton (Lamar, MO/Lamar) were both named to the first team, as Compton leads the team with 92 tackles and 11 stops for a loss that helped him become the school's all-time leader in tackles behind the line of scrimmage, while Brooks leads the conference in that category with 20 – the sixth-most in Division II – among his 81 tackles this season.
Brooks also leads the Miners with 10 quarterback sacks, while the individual who ranks second on the list, Tershawn Wharton (University City, MO/University City), also made the first team along the defensive line. Wharton has 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss on the season among his 46 stops and was joined on the first team by defensive line mate Joseph Boettcher, who has 31 tackles and safety Ryan Kirkendall (Silsbee, TX/Silsbee), who has recorded 45 tackles and five passes defended with an interception returned for a touchdown.
Joining Graham on the offensive first team was the quarterback throwing those passes to him, Tyler Swart (Dickinson, TX/Dickinson), who last week broke the GLVC career passing yardage record. This year, Swart has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,724 yards and 25 touchdowns, pushing his career totals in those categories to 8,584 yards and 75 touchdowns.
Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia), who caught 39 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns, was also a first-team choice and the Miners had three other receivers earn All-GLVC honors as Justin Vaughn (Houston, TX/George Bush) and Josh Brown(Gainesville, FL/North Marion HS) were chosen to the second team and tight end Austin Griffin (West Palm Beach, FL/Oxbridge Academy) landed honorable mention laurels.
Three members of the Miners' offensive line were also named, with tackle Austin Holmes (Eagle Point, OR/Eagle Point) and guard Josh Elam (Aledo, TX/Aledo) earning spots on the first team and guard Josh Thornton (Katy, TX/Katy) being named honorable mention.
S&T's 12th first-team selection was punter Jonathan Banowetz (O'Fallon, MO/Fort Zumwalt North), who has one of the top punting averages in the GLVC at 40.2 yards per punt. He had 13 of his punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line and had another 14 punts that resulted in fair catches.
Besides the two aforementioned wide receivers and Graham, the Miners had two additional second team selections in running back Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central), who leads S&T with 669 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and placekicker Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville), who has scored 80 points by going 41-of-43 on extra point attempts and making 13-of-19 on field goal attempts.
S&T also had three other honorable mention selections in defensive end Chandler Anderson (Columbia, MO/Battle), safety Justin Onwugbufor (Maize, KS/Northwest) and linebacker Ben Straatmann (Washington, MO/Washington).
Running back Al McKeller from GLVC champion Indianapolis was named as the league's top offensive player, while Quincy linebacker Cody Leonard was the league's top defensive player and Truman State's Lawrence Woods was named by the coaches as the top player on special teams. UIndy running back Toriano Clinton was selected as the GLVC's top freshman.