Above image by CJ Halloran/@cjhall_photography
After a fast-paced five game spring season for the UMHB football team, the time has come to announce our Players of the Year.
These honors were voted upon by both the fans and a select group of local media.
On offense, quarterback Kyle King was far and away voted Offensive Player of the Year after accounting for 12 of the Cru’s touchdown (6 passing, 6 rushing), throwing for 613 yards, running for another 181 and completed 54 percent of his passes. He threw just two interceptions.
King stepped into the starting role for the final two games of the season, but saw the field for a significant number of snaps in the wins over Southwestern and ETBU.
The Milano, Texas native hauled in 75 percent of the fan vote, and combined with the media votes, which were weighted, received a total of 250 votes.
We also want to give recognition to the other three deserving candidates of the honor, in quarterback Tommy Bowden, and receivers KJ Miller and Kadarius Daniels.
The Defensive Player of the Year honor goes to linebacker Jacob Mueller, who was all over the field, blitzing the quarterback, dropping back in coverage and defending the run. The Fort Worth, Texas product tallied 24 solo tackles, 35 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss that dropped the opponents back a total of 32 yards and 2.0 sacks. He also recovered two fumbles and UMHB’s only “pick-six” of the spring campaign when he returned an interception eight yards for a touchdown against Louisiana College.
In a close race with defensive end Sante Parker Jr., Mueller picked up 51 percent of the vote (including media votes), compared to Parker Jr.’s 35 percent. Safety Jefferson Fritz and linebacker Akeem Jackson also earned votes.
On special teams, we witnessed another close race, as one nominee had an early lead, but ultimately, the same player who won the ASC’s Special Teams Player of the Year also earned our honor. Punt/kick returner KJ Miller was elusive and agile as opposing kickers and punters deliberately attempted to send the ball away from Miller at certain times this season.
On punt returns, the junior had an average of 17.7 yards per return, with his longest coming on a 52-yard return that went for a touchdown against Louisiana College.
Miller also returned seven kickoffs for an average of 22.6 yards per return.
Miller earned 45 percent of the vote, and kicker/punter Brandon Cunningham had 30 percent. Fritz also earned 15 percent of the vote.
Our Offensive Freshman of the Year award goes to running back Montana Miller, who was spectacular, even with a cast on one hand for the final two games of the season. The freshman tallied 40 carries for 209 yards and an average of 5.2 yards per carry. He also scored one touchdown.
Also nominated for the honor was running back Kenneth Cormier Jr., who transitioned from linebacker to running back midseason, and the three freshmen who started on the offensive line; Jesse Hoke, Reuel Tandoh and Ethan Ruckman.
Miller earned 46 percent of the vote, Cormier Jr. had 29 percent and the offensive linemen came in third with 23 percent.
Our Defensive Freshman of the Year award goes to defensive tackle Kobe Giles, who received all possible media votes. Giles had 89 percent of the vote. Defensive lineman Josh Patteson and defensive back Omari Frazier were also nominated.
Giles had a great start to his collegiate career, with eight total tackles, 3.0 TFL for 16 yards and 1.0 sack.