The votes have been tallied, and for the second straight year, we are announcing True To The Cru’s Football Players of the Year.
These honors are presented by our gold sponsors: The Best of Belton, Sacrifice Training, the Crusader Football Alumni Association, Duke Realty, Cornerstone Site Services and Montgomery Chiropractic. We thank them for their support of our coverage and Crusader athletics. Be sure to check out all of our sponsor pages above, under “sponsors”.
These honors were made following a week-long public vote on our website, as well as by a panel of media voters, whose votes collectively made up 50 percent of the total vote. The public vote on our website accounted for the other 50 percent.
Before we announce these Players of the Year, let us congratulate the nominees for each of these honors, as well as the entire UMHB football program, whose work ethic and dedication allowed the Cru to reach the national semifinals.
Here we go…
Offensive Player of the Year: Kyle King
Voted an All-America selection by the AFCA, the AP, and D3football.com, the UMHB quarterback was stellar in his final collegiate season. He broke multiple school records, both single-season marks and career bests, throwing for 3,676 yards and 41 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He completed 260 of 399 passing attempts, and was prolific in leading an offense that averaged 41.3 points per game.
King received 53 percent of the public vote and was a unanimous selection by our panel of media voters.
Defensive Player of the Year: Durand Hill
At the center of UMHB’s defense, Hill stepped into a starting linebacker role and finished the year with a team-best 124 total tackles, 71 of which were solo tackles. He tallied 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and a team-best 11 pass breakups, including three in the quarterfinal playoff win over Bethel (MN). Hill was named Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Sub-FBS Defensive Player of the Year on Dec. 22.
Hill earned 50.4 percent of the public vote in a close race, but had 60 percent of the media vote, which gave him the honor of Defensive Player of the Year.
Special Teams Player of the Year: K.J. Miller
Miller broke the NCAA’s all-time record for career punt return yardage midway through the 2022 season, further cementing his legacy at UMHB. He finished his career with the Cru having tallied 1,707 punt return yards, and averaged 13.9 yards per return this season. He also returned 13 kickoffs for an average of 26.3 yards per return. Miller was voted Second Team All-America by the AP as a return specialist.
Miller picked up 53 percent of the public vote and 75 percent of the media vote.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year*: Kenneth Miller Jr.
Miller Jr., a transfer running back from Northwestern Oklahoma State, carried the ball 56 times for 535 yards in his first season in Belton. With tremendous speed, Miller scored three touchdowns and averaged 9.5 yards per carry. He tallied a season-best 96 rushing yards in an Oct. 1 victory over Austin College.
Miller picked up 80 percent of the public vote and 50 percent of the media vote.
Defensive Newcomer of the Year*: Cameron Mitton
A true freshman from Dallas, Mitton stepped right into his role within the defense, starting games against Southwestern and Hardin-Simmons in the first half of the season. Mitton, a safety, finished the year with 17 total tackles, eight solo tackles, and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also tallied a pair of pass breakups and saw action in 12 games.
Mitton picked up 57.4 percent of the public vote and 60 percent of the media vote.
*-Newcomers are defined as first-year varsity players, whether those be players moved up from the JV roster, true freshmen, or transfers.