WMU Football Garners Eight All-MAC Selections and Freshman of the Year
CLEVELAND - Western Michigan football had seven of its own comprise eight selections on the 2012 All-Mid-American Conference Team announced Wednesday, including Jaime Wilson as MAC Freshman of the Year.
Wilson, who was also named Second Team Offense at wide receiver and Special Teams as a punt returner, dazzled Bronco fans in his rookie campaign. He became the first freshman ever wide receiver to lead the team in receptions (67), receiving TDs (6) and receiving yards (792). He accomplished this in only 10 games. Wilson led the MAC in punt return average (13.6 ypr), ranked sixth in receptions per game (6.7) and eighth in yards (79.2).
The Belle Glade, Fla., native ranked second in the nation among freshman with four 100-yard receiving games giving him the most by a freshman MAC receiver since 2009. Wilson also became the first WMU player to earn All-MAC in two categories since Brandon West earned second team as a running back and kick returner in 2007.
Wilson is the sixth Bronco to earn MAC Freshman of the Year, first wide receiver, and the first since Tim Hiller in 2005. Wilson also joins tight end Kelly Spielmaker (1983), quarterback Brad Tayles (1989), quarterback Tim Lester (1996) and running back Robert Sanford (1997) on this list.
Earning First Team All-MAC Offense for the first time in his career is senior offensive tackle Dann O'Neill. This is the second season nod from the conference for O'Neill, earning third team a year ago. The Grand Haven, Mich., native shared the lead for offensive snaps in 2012 with 906, starting all 12 games for the Broncos. He ended his WMU career having started all 35 games he played in and was on the field for 2,520 snaps. O'Neill is the first offensive lineman to earn First Team All-MAC since James Blair in 2007.
Currie, a native of Big Rapids, Mich., ranked second on the team with 98 tackles, a career high. He added 1.5 tackles for loss, three pass break ups, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble from the free safety position.
Inkster, Mich., native Bishop had a career high 63 tackles and a team best 11.5 TFLs, which also ranked fifth best in the MAC. He had 4.0 sacks, which tied for second on the team and also led the Broncos with five QB Hurries to go along with two PBUs, a pair of forced fumbles and his first career blocked kick (FG) at CMU.
Earning Third Team All-MAC for the Broncos were Kevin Galeher on offense, and Desmond Bozeman and Johnnie Simon on defense. Both Bozeman and Galeher are first-time honorees while Simon earned second team in 2011.
Chicago native Galeher shared the team lead with O'Neill for offensive snaps at 906, ending his career with 1,805 plays in 37 games played, including 23 career starts. He was both a 2011 and 2012 Rimington Trophy candidate for WMU.
Bozeman, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was one of three Broncos to amass 90 or more tackles in 2012, ranking third with exactly 90. He added 5.5 TFLs, including 4.0 sacks and a game securing 53-yard fumble return after a sack against Connecticut.
Simon, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla., registered his second-straight season with 100 or more tackles (103), becoming the first Bronco to accomplish the feat since Bryan Lape did so in 2001 and 2002. Simon was one of only nine defenders in the MAC to record over 100 tackles in 2012.
Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch earned the 31st Vern Smith Leadership Award, voted on by the coaches and presented annually to the conference's top football player in honor of Vern Smith, the former University of Toledo Athletic Director. Lynch was also named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Kent State's second-year head coach Darrell Hazell was named the MAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Golden Flashes to an 11-1 overall mark, 8-0 record in the MAC and No. 17 ranking in the latest BCS Poll. KSU's Dri Archer was named MAC Special Teams Player of the Year and Bowling Green's Chris Jones was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year, an award won by WMU's Drew Nowak in 2011.
Toledo led the way with six first team selections, followed by NIU and Ball State with five. Overall, BSU set the pace with 15 honorees, followed by Toledo with 11, and Bowling Green and Kent State each with 10.