Malone leads 18 total Hilltoppers Named to All-CUSA teams
DALLAS, Texas — Led by senior defensive end DeAngelo Malone, WKU Football placed six players on All-Conference USA First and Second Teams, the league announced Monday. The Hilltoppers had 12 more earn Honorable Mention distinction, pushing the team’s total to 18 honorees.
Malone – who was the 2019 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year – put up another productive year on The Hill and earned a spot on the First Team. The Atlanta, Ga., native had 65 total tackles – including 11 for loss – with six sacks, eight quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and even a blocked field goal. His 65 tackles rank second in FBS among defensive linemen, while his 11 tackles for loss rank second in C-USA and his six sacks stand tied for third.
On the second team were safety Devon Key, cornerback Dionté Ruffin, offensive guard Jordan Meredith, punter John Haggerty and kicker Brayden Narveson.
A four-year starter on The Hill, Key broke through to the All-CUSA Second Team after earning Honorable Mention in 2019 and 2018 and an All-Freshman nod in 2017. The Lexington, Ky., native ranks fourth in C-USA with 86 total tackles, which pushed his career total to 344 as a Hilltopper. That mark of 344 ranks fourth among active FBS players and 10th all-time in WKU’s 102-season program history. The safety also added three pass breakups and a forced fumble this season.
Ruffin has established himself as a lockdown defender on the outside, leading C-USA and ranking tied for third in FBS with 11 pass breakups. He grabbed the first interception of his career at #10/11 BYU against Heisman hopeful Zach Wilson, only 1-of-3 picks thrown by the quarterback this season on 302 pass attempts. According to PFF College, the Kenner, La., native has allowed completions on only 21-of-46 targets (46%) against him this season for 294 yards.
After earning a C-USA Honorable Mention nod in 2019, Meredith was voted to the league’s Preseason Team leading into the 2020 campaign and he met those expectations. According to PFF College, he ranks No. 2 among C-USA offensive guards with an 83.1 overall blocking rating, including marks of 84.7 pass blocking and 85.2 run blocking. Also, after being named PFF College Honorable Mention in 2019, it was posted on Monday that the Bowling Green native earned Second Team All-American status in 2020.
Haggerty made an immediate impact on The Hill in 2019, setting the program’s all-time punting average with 45.9 yards per boot (45 for 2,064 total yards) and earning C-USA First Team honors. He set the standard once again in his second year, upping that mark to 46.0 yards per punt (53 for 2,436 total yards). The Sydney, Australia, native earned C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors after an 8-punt, 426-yard (53.3 average) career day vs. FIU.
In his first season on The Hill, Narveson has produced one of the best place kicking seasons in WKU history. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native is 13-of-14 on field goal attempts for a 93% mark, which ranks tied for third in FBS among kickers with 10-plus attempts. He has made 6-of-6 field goals in the 40-49 range and 5-of-5 from the 30-39 distance, while his 53-yarder at Middle Tennessee was the third-longest ever for a Hilltopper. He has also made 24-of-24 extra point attempts for a total of 63 points.
Honorable Mention players, who received at least one All-Conference vote, for WKU include (alphabetically):
- Senior linebacker Kyle Bailey
- Redshirt junior long snapper Matt Baldeck
- Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ricky Barber
- Redshirt junior cornerback Dominique Bradshaw
- Junior offensive tackle Mason Brooks
- Redshirt senior linebacker Eli Brown
- Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jeremy Darvin
- Senior safety Antwon Kincade
- Redshirt senior wide receiver Xavier Lane
- Redshirt senior nickelback Trae Meadows
- Sophomore tight end Joshua Simon
- Redshirt junior offensive tackle Cole Spencer
The Hilltoppers had six players – Bailey, Barber, Darvin, Kincade, Meadows and Simon – who repeated as Honorable Mention selections from 2019. Meanwhile, Baldeck, Bradshaw, Brooks, Brown, Lane and Spencer earned the first C-USA recognition of their careers.
C-USA’s superlative awards will be announced by the league office on Tuesday, December 22 at 11 a.m. CT. Hilltoppers earned three such awards in 2019, with Tyson Helton claiming Coach of the Year, Malone winning Defensive Player of the Year and quarterback Ty Storey being voted the league’s Newcomer of the Year. WKU had won three superlatives in the team’s first six seasons in the league – Most Valuable Player Brandon Doughty in 2014 and 2015 and Newcomer of the Year Mike White in 2016.