Seven Bears Honored With All-Missouri Valley Football Awards

Seven Bears Honored With All-Missouri Valley Football Awards

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ST. LOUIS – A total of seven Missouri State University football players were honored by the Missouri Valley Football Conference today with the announcement of the 2010 All-MVFC squads.

Earning All-MVFC first-team distinction for the Bears were seniors David Arkin (Sr., OL, Wichita, Kan.) and Antoine Wilkinson (Sr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.). Both players were also conference first-teamers in 2009 and are in consideration for a number of postseason All-America squads.

Arkin is just the third MSU player to earn All-MVFC honors four times after earning second-team honors in 2007 and 2008. He joins Brad Kubik (1994-97) and Corky Martin (1997-2000) on the elite list of Bears’ players. The Wichita, Kan., native was recently named to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-America Team and will be vying for his fourth Academic All-MVFC honor when the conference academic team is announced later this week. He was listed on several preseason All-America lists and is currently ranked as the No. 10 draft-eligible offensive guard by CBS Sports.com. He graded out at 87 percent for the season with 82 knock-down blocks and ended his career with 44 consecutive games started. He is a six-time MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week and earned the MVC State Farm Good Neighbor Award during the fall semester of 2008. He helped the Bears average 425.5 yards total offense, 214.2 rushing yards and 30.4 points per game this season, all of which ranked in the top 24 nationally. He currently holds a 3.72 GPA in construction management.

Wilkinson is on the national Buck Buchanan Watch List for 2010 national defensive player of the year and earned All-MVFC first-team laurels for the second straight season. He was the 2009 MVFC Newcomer of the Year after transferring to Missouri State from Southwest Mississippi Community College. He led the 2009 Bears with 113 total tackles, making him the first MSU player since 2004 to top the century mark in total stops. This year, he finished with 100 tackles with eight tackles for loss and five sacks. He was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week for the team’s win over No. 17 North Dakota State in the season finale after he recorded 15 tackles and became the first MSU player since P.J. Jones (2000-01) to notch back-to-back 100-tackles seasons. He earned a spot on the 2009 MVFC All-Newcomer Team and was a Preseason All-America pick by Phil Steele and Consensus Draft Services.

Also honored by the MVFC on Monday were second-team All-MVFC picks Skylar Smith (Sr., S, Springfield, Mo.) and Jermaine Saffold (Jr., WR, Grandview, Mo.), along with honorable mention selections Cody Kirby (Sr., QB, Rogers, Ark.), Chris Douglas (Jr., TB, Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Terian Washington (Sr., LB, Pine Bluff, Ark.).

Smith finished second on the team in total tackles for the third straight season with 82 total stops. He collected 6.5 tackles for loss, an interception and five pass break-ups this fall. Smith Was also second-team All-MVFC in 2009 after earning honorable mention distinction in 2008. He finished his career with 258 tackles in 38 games with a pair of interceptions, 14 break-ups and two fumble recoveries.

Saffold came within 36 yards of breaking the Missouri State single-season receiving yards record this season. He finished with team highs in receptions (53), yards (869) and receiving touchdowns (5). His 53 catches ties for the sixth-best season in MSU history, while his yards ranked second. He was nationally ranked in receptions, yards, scoring and all-purpose yards this season and was named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the team’s win over No. 20 Youngstown State on Oct. 2.

Kirby capped his career as one of the top passers in league history. He was 690-for-1172 for 8,183 yards and 47 touchdowns in 44 career contests. He started 41 straight games to end his career and rushed 416 times for 836 yards and 33 scores. He broke nearly every MSU career passing mark and finished No. 3 all-time the in the MVFC in passing yards, No. 1 in pass attempts, No. 2 in completions and No. 3 in total offense (9,019). In 2010, he became the first Bear to record three straight 2,000-yard passing seasons, completing 179-of-313 passes for 2,307 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the Bears in scoring with 13 touchdowns and was third on the club in rushing yards with 403.

Douglas became Missouri State’s 10th player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season when he carried 152 times for 1,051 yards this season. He scored 11 touchdowns and posted four 100-yard rushing games this season. He finished 28th nationally in rushing yards per game (95.5), despite starting just one game, and was 50th in scoring (72). Douglas led the Bears in rushing and all-purpose yards (1,193) and was second in points.

Washington finished fifth on the club in total tackles with 50, including 5.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He tallied six pass break-ups and notched his first career interception in the Bears’ final defensive play of the season to seal a 3-0 win over No. 17 North Dakota State. He finished his career with 157 tackles in 42 games, including 19.5 for loss and 9 sacks.

The Bears will depart with 20 seniors from a 5-6 squad that finished 4-4 in the MVFC to tie for third in the nine-team league. MSU was 5-0 at Plaster Field this season to post its first unbeaten home season since 1992 and defeated three ranked opponents this season, including two NCAA Division I playoff qualifiers.

The team's annual awards banquet will take place at JQH Arena on Sunday, Dec. 12.

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