James Named All-American


Postseason accolades continue to roll in as nine Blue Raiders were recognized by Phil Steele with All-American and All-Conference USA honors.

Wide receiver Richie James followed a freshman All-American season by being named to Steele’s third team All-American after a stellar sophomore campaign. The Sarasota, Fla., native enters the bowl game with 97 receptions for a school record 1,463 yards and 11 touchdowns. James owns at least one catch in 25 straight games.

Three Blue Raiders were tabbed first team all-conference by Steele. Along with James, running back I’Tavius Mathers and defensive back Jeremy Cutrer nabbed a spot on the first team list.

Mathers capped his first and final campaign with the Raiders as the first running back at MT to surpass the 1,000-yard single-season rushing mark since Dwone Hicks accomplished the feat in 2002. The Murfreesboro native set a school record with 1,504 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with 62 receptions for 589 yards and three receiving scores. Mathers is also just the seventh player in FBS history to have 1,500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season.

Cutrer rounds out the MT representatives on Steele’s first team all-conference list. Cutrer enjoyed his best season in Blue and White with a career-high 57 tackles, including four tackles for loss. The New Orleans native also added a team-best three interceptions, 10 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also appears on the Jim Thorpe Award and Senior Bowl watch lists.

Quarterback Brent Stockstill and offensive lineman Daniel Stephens were named to Steele’s All-C-USA second team.

Despite a limited sophomore season, Stockstill helped rewrite the MT record books in 2016. The Murfreesboro native passed for an MT sophomore record 2,801 yards and 27 touchdowns, ranking fifth nationally in passing yards per game. Stockstill put together five games of 300-plus yards passing and broke his own school record for completions (42) and attempts (65).

Stephens anchored an offensive line that helped produce the first MT player to have 1,500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season, while also helping pave the way in the first MT game with a 400-yard passer, 200-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher against WKU.

Chandler Brewer, Maurquice Shakir, Steven Rhodes and Canon Rooker garnered third-team all-conference honors.

Brewer and Shakir were part of an offensive line that protected for the most pass attempts and surrendered the fewest sacks in C-USA. The duo served as an integral part of an offense that produced a 1,000-yard rusher, 1,000-yard receiver and set single-season records in points, touchdowns and total yards.

Rhodes paced all linemen with 794 snaps played and turned in a career-best 39 total tackles. The senior tallied a team-high eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

Rooker served as the team’s primary place-kicker and turned in a career season. He scored an MT record 107 points on 16 field goals and 59 extra points. The Richmond Hill, Ga., native has made 13 of his last 14 field goal attempts and was a perfect 10-for-10 in conference play.

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