UMass Football Places 11 On CAA All-Conference Teams

Minutemen feature four All-CAA First Team performers


Nov. 21, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. – Led by four All-Colonial Athletic Association First-Team picks, the University of Massachusetts football team placed 11 total players on all-conference teams as voted on by the league coaches. Senior halfback Emil Igwenagu, senior wide receiver Julian Talley, senior inside linebacker Tyler Holmes and senior kick returner Jesse Julmiste were each named to the All-CAA First Team.

Senior tailback Jonathan Hernandez was named to the third team offense as was sophomore tight end Rob Blanchflower, junior offensive tackle Stephane Milhim, senior offensive guard Josh Samuda, junior offensive tackle Nick Speller.

Sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Byrne and junior inside linebacker Perry McIntyre were both named to the third team defense.

Holmes led the way for the UMass defensive corps picking up his third career All-CAA honor. This marked the second time he was named a first-team selection after being named the CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. As a sophomore in 2009, Holmes was a second-team honoree.

For the season, Holmes led UMass with a career-best 118 tackles which included 69 solo stops, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 8 passes defended and one interception. The native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Holmes finished his career with 361 tackles in 38 games. That stands fifth all-time in program history just 4.5 tackles behind Vito Perrone. The 118 tackles in 2011 was a career-best for the true senior who posted 100+ tackles in each of the last three seasons.

Talley led all UMass receivers with 60 catches for 759 yards and four touchdowns. He finished his UMass career with 162 receptions for 2,090 yards. For the native of Winslow, N.J., this was his second conference honor as he earned All-CAA Second Team honors in 2010.

All-time at UMass, Talley ranks 4th in career reception yards and 3rd in career catches passing Brandon London and Victor Cruz this season.

Julmiste earned national recognition for his kick return prowess in 2011. The senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., amassed 789 return yards and a pair of touchdowns. He set the UMass program record for kickoff return yards in a single game when he had 252 yards at Boston College. For his career, Julmiste posted 1,009 kick return yards which stands 7th most all-time at UMass. His season total of 789 yards ranks second all-time just behind Tim Berra who set the program record in 1973 (805 yards).

Igwenagu served as the Minutemen’s co-captain for the second consecutive year alongside Holmes. The halfback/tight end combo hauled in a career-high 38 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown for the year.

Hernandez earned All-CAA third-team honors after posting his first career 1,000-yard rushing season becoming the 10th player since 1948 to do so.

The Leominster, Mass., native finished his career with 2,627 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in 41 games. He ranks 7th all-time in career yardage and 6th all-time in career touchdowns. All told for his career, he eclipsed the 100-yard mark on 10 occasions with UMass posting an 8-2 record in those games.

Blanchflower, Milhim, Samuda and Speller rounded out the offensive picks for the All-CAA third team. Blanchflower posted 18 catches for 208 yards and one touchdown. Samuda and Speller started every game this season on the offensive line, while Milhim started every game but one. The trio led an offensive line that gave up fewer than two sacks per game, while averaging 127 yards rushing per game.

Byrne and McIntyre were both standouts on the UMass defense. McIntyre combined with Holmes to form one of the top linebacking duos in the CAA, while Byrne had a career-best 26 tackles in eight starts before missing the end of the season due to injury.

John Sinnett
Associate Director, Media Relations
University of Massachusetts


Seven Tribe Players Earn All-CAA Honors

Mon, November 21, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 21, 2011) – William and Mary All-American senior running back Jonathan Grimes was selected as the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Year, while he and six other Tribe players garnered all-conference honors based on voting by the league’s 11 head coaches.

Grimes, senior tight end Alex Gottlieb, senior center James Pagliaro and junior cornerback B.W. Webb earned first-team honors, while senior defensive end Marcus Hyde and junior safety Brian Thompson garnered second-team distinction. Grimes also earned third-team accolades as a kick returner, while junior Jabrel Mines was a third-team selection at linebacker.

A complete list of All-CAA honorees is available by clicking here.

With his three All-CAA honors this season, Grimes increased his career total to 11 and is the most-decorated player in conference history. The impressive total eclipses the previous record of eight that he and former New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos shared entering the season. A three-time first-team all-conference selection at running back, Grimes’ long list of accolades also includes being honored as the league’s special teams player of the year twice (2010, 2011) as well as its offensive rookie of the year (2009). He was also chosen as a second-team All-CAA running back as a freshman (2008) and earned all-league honors as a kick returner all four seasons.

One of the nation’s top players this fall, Grimes led the country with 228.2 all-purpose yards per game and led the CAA and ranked sixth nationally with 130.1 rushing yards per game. Additionally, the Payton Award Watch List selection set single-season school records with 2,510 all-purpose yards, 1,431 rushing yards and 817 kickoff return yards. En route to piling up the record-breaking numbers, Grimes rushed for more than 130 yards in six of eight conference games this season – highlighted by three consecutive 200+ yard games to close out the fall.

One of the greatest players in school history, Grimes finished his career as W&M’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,541), all-purpose yards (7,955), kickoff return yards (2,289) and rushing attempts (936). Additionally, he ranks third on the CAA’s career all-purpose yards list and sixth on the league’s career rushing yards list.

After earning All-America honors in 2010, Gottlieb posted another outstanding season this fall and was honored as a first-team all-league selection for the second consecutive year. The Delray Beach, Fla., native ranked second on the team with 33 receptions for 424 yards with a touchdown, while his average of 12.8 yards per catch ranked just outside the CAA’s top 10. He was especially productive in conference action, as he totaled 26 receptions for 332 yards and recorded multiple catches against all eight league opponents.

Webb earned first-team honors at cornerback for the second consecutive season and increased his career total of all-league accolades to six. The Newport News, Va., native was instrumental in helping the Tribe rank among the conference’s top defensive teams against the pass this fall and finished the season with two interceptions, 40 tackles and three tackles for a loss. With 11 career interceptions, he ranks tied for eighth on W&M’s career list.

Pagliaro garnered all-conference accolades for the second straight season after helping anchor the team’s offensive line. In addition to helping Grimes rush for a single-season school record 1,431 yards, he and the offensive line ranked tied for third in the CAA by allowing just 19 sacks.

Hyde earned second-team all-league honors for the second consecutive season after another outstanding fall. The Manassas, Va., native ranked tied for third in the CAA with 6.5 sacks while he ranked sixth in the conference in tackle per game among defensive linemen (4.7). In addition to leading the Tribe in sacks, he totaled 52 tackles and led the team with 10.0 tackles for a loss. Hyde’s best effort of the season came in his record-setting performance against New Hampshire when he totaled five sacks, six tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and a career-high nine tackles.

One of the league’s top safeties, Thompson garnered second-team All-CAA honors after ranking tied for ninth in the conference in tackles per game among defensive backs (6.2). Additionally, the Somerset, N.J., native ranked third on the team with 68 tackles and totaled five tackles for a loss, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.

W&M’s top tackler this season, Mines earned his first all-conference accolade after ranking sixth in the CAA with 9.9 tackles per game. In addition to recording a team-best 109 tackles, the Doswell, Va., native also totaled eight tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Mines posted five double-digit tackle efforts, while he equaled a career high with 16 tackles in the season opener at Virginia.

Gsc Lands Two On Final Harlon Hill Trophy Ballot

Florence, AL—For the third time in seven seasons, the Gulf South Conference placed at least two players among the list of nine Harlon Hill Trophy finalists.

A pair of senior quarterbacks earned the right to represent the GSC on this year’s final ballot as Delta State’s Micah Davis and North Alabama’s Lee Chapple were among three representatives from the Super Region Two field.  Their accomplishment also marks the 12th straight year that the league has advanced at least one player to the final ballot.

The GSC’s top two signal callers face off this weekend in the Second Round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs when No. 1 seed DSU hosts No. 5 seed UNA on Saturday at Noon.  Davis is the first Statesmen to reach the final ballot since linebacker Michael Eubanks finished third in 2007.  Chapple is the Lions’ first student-athlete on the final ballot since signal caller A.J. Milwee recorded his second consecutive spot in 2008.

Davis is the reigning GSC Offensive Player of the Year and he enters this weekend’s action ranked first in the Conference in total offense (288.5) and second in passing (272.1) and passing touchdowns (19).  Chapple guided UNA to a 47-23 upset at No. 4 seed West Alabama in the First Round of the NCAA Playoffs last Saturday.  He is tops in the league in passing (280.4), passing touchdowns (23) and pass efficiency (144.1) and also places second in total offense (279.7).

A field of 22 candidates was trimmed down to nine players that were placed on the final ballot for the Harlon Hill Trophy which is awarded to the top Division II player.  The finalists will be narrowed to three by a voting of Division II sports information directors on December 2nd.  The top three players will then be invited to the 26th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on the evening of Friday, December 16th at 6:30 pm in Florence, AL.

For complete information on the Harlon Hill Trophy and how to attend this year’s banquet, please visit






Mike Turk, Troy State



Mike Turk, Troy State



Emanuel McNeil, Tennessee-Martin



David Gulledge, Jacksonville State



Fred McAfee, Mississippi College



Tyrone Rush, North Alabama



Tyrone Rush, North Alabama



Chris Hatcher, Valdosta State



Ronald McKinnon, North Alabama



Lance Funderburk, Valdosta State



Tregnel Thomas, Delta State



Anthony Giovingo, Arkansas-Monticello



Dusty Bonner, Valdosta State



Dusty Bonner, Valdosta State



Zak Clark, Central Arkansas



Will Hall, North Alabama



Corey Allred, Arkansas-Monticello



Anthony Merritt, North Alabama


Scott Eyster, Delta State



Scott Eyster, Delta State



Michael Eubanks, Delta State


David Knighton, Harding


A.J. Milwee, North Alabama



A.J. Milwee, North Alabama



Nick Graziano, Arkansas Tech



Nick Hardesty, Henderson State



Micah Davis, Delta State


Lee Chapple, North Alabama



Michael Anderson

Assistant Commissioner For Media & Public Affairs

Gulf South Conference

2101 Providence Park; Suite 200

Birmingham, AL  35242

Phone (205) 991-9880

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Statement From Kevin Morris On Being Released As UMass Football Head Coach

AMHERST, Mass. – Kevin Morris has issued the following statement following his release as the head coach of the University of Massachusetts football program.

“I was looking forward to taking UMass to the Football Bowl Subdivision and was building the program to do just that. The players here are willing to do the work and will be ready to compete at the highest level. I am disappointed that my staff will not be able to finish what they started. They are an outstanding group of coaches and were tireless workers in effort to give the student-athletes the best possible college football experience. John McCutcheon felt it was time for a change and although I am disappointed with the decision, I do thank him and his staff for the opportunity to help shape the lives of UMass football players.”


Kevin Morris Released As Head Coach Of University of Massachusetts Football Program

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Football Head Coach Kevin Morris has been released from his contract as announced by Director of Athletics John McCutcheon. A national search for the program’s first head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS) era is underway.

“I thank Kevin for his hard work during his eight years with the UMass football program including the last three as head coach,” said McCutcheon. “With the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference, I felt it was important for the program to have a new direction in leadership.”

A consultative committee will be formed shortly to assist with the search process.

Morris recorded a 16-17 record while serving as the UMass head coach. He was 40-49 in nine years as a head coach which includes six years at Worcester Polytech and three at UMass. Prior to being named the head coach at UMass in 2009, Morris served as the Minutemen’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons (2004-08).

This past season, UMass was 5-6 overall with no conference record due to the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the FBS and the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The Minutemen were not eligible for the Colonial Athletic Association Championship or the NCAA FCS Tournament due to their transition status.

In April 2011, it was announced that UMass would be making the transition from the FCS level to the FBS level as a football-only member of the MAC. UMass will play the next two seasons at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., serving as its home field. The Minutemen will be eligible for the MAC Championship and bowl participation in 2013.

The 2012 season will be the 130th for the UMass football program. UMass has been a FCS member since 1978 when the division was first formed. In that time span, UMass has won 22 conference championships, made eight (8) NCAA Tournament appearances winning the 1998 National Championship Title and has played in the NCAA Championship game three times (1978, 1998, and 2006). UMass has been a member of the Yankee Conference, the Atlantic 10 and most recently the Colonial Athletic Association.

TRANSACTIONS: Kevin Morris released as head football coach at the University of Massachusetts.