Five Redbirds Named to MVFC All-Newcomer Team
Nov. 27, 2012
ST. LOUIS - For the third consecutive season, the Illinois State football team had five players named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team, when the roster was announced Tuesday. The votes were tallied from a survey of the league's head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media.
The five selections were the most for any school on this year's list, which is comprised of true freshmen, redshirt freshmen and first-year transfers to their respective schools. Redbird offensive linemen Josh Aladenoye and Jermaine Barton, wide receiver Phil Dudley, linebacker Alex Donnelly and strong safety Ezra Thompson added their names to the list with strong performances for the Redbirds in 2012.
Aladenoye, a junior from Mesquite, Texas, native started all 11 games at left tackle, after transferring from Oklahoma. Barton, a sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., took control at the right tackle position in every game this season after he transferred from Miami. Each graded out at over 85 percent all season and helped ISU rush for 136 yards per game on the ground. Both were instrumental in helping block for Darrelynn Dunn, who rushed for 12 touchdowns, the most for a Redbird back since 2006. They were also key parts of the offense line unit that allowed just 10 sacks all season, which ranks No. 9 in the country in fewest sacks allowed.
Dudley played in all 11 games at wide receiver for the Redbirds after transferring from Ball State. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native did just about everything for the Redbirds on the field. He caught 27 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 43 yards on eight carries. Dudley also threw two passes for 45 yards, including a 50-yard bomb that set up a touchdown against Youngstown State. He also contributed regularly on special teams, where he returned eight kickoffs for 180 yards for an average of 22.5 yards-per-return.
Forced into action because of an injury to starting linebacker Austin Davis, redshirt freshman Alex Donnelly made four starts at outside linebacker and saw action in all 11 games for ISU. The Kirkland, Wash., native finished the season with 34 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and a sack. He also added three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and fumble recovery while playing in different defensive lineups for ISU. Donnelly had a career-day with 10 tackles, a tackle-for-loss and an interception in the overtime win against Eastern Illinois and he followed that up with seven tackles and fumble recovery in road win at Western Illinois.
Rounding out the group was Thompson, a junior from Tinley Park, Ill., who transferred to ISU from Colorado State prior to the season. Thompson started all 11 games at strong safety and finished the season with 42 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups. He recorded a career-high eight tackles in the season-finale against No. 1 North Dakota State and had an interception and four tackles in the team's overtime win against Eastern Illinois.
The Redbirds will return to action Saturday, Dec. 1, when they travel to Boone, N.C., to face Appalachian State in the second round of the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs. Game time is set for 1 p.m. CT and it will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
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