Right tackle Miles Pate and tight end Mik’Quan Deane earned spots on the All-Conference USA Second Team, while 11 others from WKU Football were honored by the league on Tuesday afternoon, as voted on by the 14 head football coaches.
A junior from Lawrenceville, Ga., Pate was the most experienced offensive lineman for a WKU unit that came into the season with zero returning starts at their respective positions. He started all 12 games for the Hilltoppers at right tackle, playing 893 snaps while being called for only two penalties. Via PFF College, his +21.7 cumulative rating and 79.1 overall rating rank second among C-USA offensive tackles.
Pate was the offensive line MVP in the Hilltoppers’ 28-20 victory at Ball State on Sept. 22, and was named a team captain for the season opener at No. 4 Wisconsin. From 2017-to-2018, WKU improved +76 yards rushing per game (from 61-to-137) and allowed one fewer sack per game (from 3.7-to-2.7).
A senior from Tulsa, Okla., Deane led C-USA tight ends with 44 receptions – 31 of which went for first downs – and six touchdowns, while finishing second with 529 yards receiving. On the national scope, he ranked 10th with 44 receptions, sixth with 31 first downs, 12th with 529 yards receiving and tied for seventh with six scores.
Deane was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List prior to the season and earned Honorable Mention weekly honors twice during the 2018 campaign. He posted career-highs of 10 receptions and 112 yards receiving at Florida Atlantic on Nov. 10, and caught a pair of touchdowns at Ball State on Sept. 22.
In addition, running back Joshua Samuel, defensive end Juwuan Jones, linebacker Rex Henderson and kick returned Garland LaFrance were voted to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. The Hilltoppers tied for a league-high with four representatives on the squad.
From Greenville, S.C., Samuel ranked seventh in C-USA with 639 yards rushing and ranked sixth among players with 100+ attempts with 5.3 yards per rush. His 61-yard rush at Florida Atlantic on Nov. 10 was the sixth-longest attempt by a C-USA player in league action, and his 101-yard performance that evening was the first by a Hilltoppers since the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl.
From Sugar Hill, Ga., Jones led C-USA freshmen with 546 snaps and posted five sacks, which set a WKU FBS Era record (dating back to 2009) by a freshman. He made a career-high 2.5 sacks with a forced fumble vs. Old Dominion on October 20, which was the most sacks in a game by a Hilltopper since the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl. He was also the lone freshman defender to be voted All-CUSA Honorable Mention.
From Morgantown, Ky., Henderson was a key contributor on special teams, with three solo tackles on the season. In addition, his 11-yard rush and conversion on a fake punt at Ball State on Sept. 22 helped lead WKU to a 28-20 victory over the Cardinals.
From New Orleans, La., LaFrance amassed 564 all-purpose yards in his rookie campaign, which included 11 kick returns for 258 yards, 33 rushes for 158 yards and 20 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown. His 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run vs. Maine on Sept. 8 was the longest reception by a Hilltopper this season and the sixth-longest by a C-USA player.
Receiving votes for All-CUSA Honorable Mention were wide receiver Lucky Jackson, defensive ends Jones and DeAngelo Malone, linebackers Ben Holt and Masai Whyte, and defensive backs Ta’Corian Darden, Drell Greene and Devon Key.
It was the second straight season with Honorable Mention for the junior Jackson and senior Greene, while Key followed up a All-CUSA Freshman nod from 2017. The remaining five Hilltoppers – Jones, Malone, Holt, White and Darden – earned a spot for the first time.
All-Conference USA Second Team
Mik’Quan Deane, TE, r-Sr.
Miles Pate, RT, r-Jr.
Conference USA All-Freshman Team
Rex Henderson, LB, r-Fr.
Juwuan Jones, DE, r-Fr.
Garland LaFrance, KR, Fr.
Joshua Samuel, RB, r-Fr.
All-CUSA Honorable Mention
Ta’Corian Darden, DB, r-Jr.
Drell Greene, S, Sr.
Ben Holt, LB, r-Jr.
Lucky Jackson, WR, r-Jr.
Juwuan Jones, DE, r-Fr.
Devon Key, S, r-So.
DeAngelo Malone, DE, So.
Masai Whyte, LB, r-Sr.
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WKU Hilltopper Athletics