BOZICH | WKU (Doughty), Louisville (Kelsey) lead WDRB all-Kentuc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | WKU (Doughty), Louisville (Kelsey) lead WDRB all-Kentuckiana football team

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WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty leads the WDRB all-Kentuckiana offense. WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty leads the WDRB all-Kentuckiana offense.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)  -- You’ve seen the all-Atlantic Coast Conference football teams. All league teams from the SEC, Big Ten and Conference USA are howling across the Internet this week. Jeff Brohm got snubbed as the Conference USA coach of the year Wednesday.

Here is a college football team you will only see at WDRB.com. My All-Kentuckiana Football Team.

Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky are the four teams I watched as much as possible during the 2015 season. I made a list of the players who impressed me.

Usually, it was the Western Kentucky offense and Louisville defense. I picked 26 guys – 13 on each side of the ball. When you win 11 games and roll through Conference USA, you have talented guys. 

That explains why Western Kentucky leads my list with eight selections. I gave seven spots to Louisville (six on defense), six to Indiana and five to Kentucky.

Feel free to offer any corrections.

Let me make this addition -- Coach of the Year. 

Jeff Brohm's peers in Conference USA embraced the overachiever story line and gave the award to Todd Monken of Southern Miss, which improved to 9-4 after finishing 3-9 last season.

Duly noted. Job well done. 

But Brohm's team just beat Monken's team by 17 points for the conference title -- and WKU went 9-0 in the school's second season in the league. Conference USA snubbed Brohm. WDRB won't make that mistake. Jeff Brohm is our Kentuckiana college football coach of the year.

OFFENSE

WR – Jamari Staples, Louisville – Led the Cardinals in receptions (36) while missing three complete games. Looked like DeVante Parker Lite at times. Imagine what he could have done with consistent quarterback play.

WR – Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky – I’m not sure how Taylor slipped out of town from Pleasure Ridge Park, but he’s been dynamic for the Hilltoppers. He ranked second in the nation in touchdown catches (17) and ninth in receiving yards per game.

TE – Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky – The next WKU tight end who will graduate to the NFL. Averaged nearly 15 yards per catch and scored eight times in only nine games. Great size and better grit.

OT – Jason Spriggs, Indiana – There’s a reason that Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard have been two of the best backs in the Big Ten the last three seasons. Spriggs creates space to run. Monstrous size. Bound for the NFL.

OT – Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky – The Hilltoppers’ most powerful blocker will also play in the NFL.

OG – Brandon Ray, Western Kentucky – Only a redshirt sophomore, Ray has started 26 games by keeping Brandon Doughty safe in the pocket.

OG – Dan Feeney, Indiana – IU coach Kevin Wilson said Feeney is the best offensive lineman he’s ever coached – and Wilson came to Indiana from Oklahoma and Northwestern. Sold.

C – Jon Toth, Kentucky – One ranking service reportedly graded Toth the second-best center in the Southeastern Conference. Mark Stoops needs more just like him.

QB – Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky – Led the nation with 45 touchdown passes, ranked second in yardage and third in completions. And he did all that during a season where WKU lost its top running back (Leon Allen) in its season opener.

RB – Jordan Howard, Indiana – Comfortable running inside or outside the tackles, Howard ranked ninth in the nation in rushing yards per game (134.8). Despite nagging injuries, Howard had six games when he ran for at least 145 yards.

RB – Boom Williams, Kentucky – The Wildcats need to keep Williams on the field because his per carry average of 7.07 yards ranked 14th in the nation and he’s always a threat to take one 30, 40 or 75 yards.

PK – Garrett Schwettman, Western Kentucky – The Hilltoppers did not kick as many field goals as other programs because they generated touchdowns. Schwettman led the nation in field goal accuracy (14 of 15) and nailed 73 of 74 extra points.

KR – Kylen Towner, Western Kentucky – Averaged nearly 25 yards per kickoff return, including one for a touchdown.

Offensive player of the year: Brandon Doughty. They’ll be talking about the way he played quarterback in Bowling Green for years because Doughty ran the offense with the resolve of a safecracker and put up super-sized numbers every week. Made all the smart throws, most of the tough throws and very few of the silly ones.

DEFENSE

DL – Sheldon Rankins, Louisville – Stuff the run. Punish the passer. Refuse to leave the field. Handle the locker room. Rankins did it all for the Cardinals.

DL – Jontavius Morris, Western Kentucky – Tackles for loss. Sacks. Passes broken up. Recovered fumbles. Morris checked all the boxes.

DL – DeAngelo Brown, Louisville – Better try to run around this guy because you are not going to run through him. A force.

DL – Cory Johnson, Kentucky – The one guy on the UK defense who looked like a prime-time SEC defensive lineman because of his strength and speed.

LB – Keith Kelsey, Louisville – The Cards’ leading tackler brought energy and mayhem to every game. Train your eyes on him when the Cards play in the Music City Bowl. You'll be entertained.

LB – Josh Forrest, Kentucky – You can’t blame the Wildcats’ struggles on Forrest, their leading tackler as well as the guy who returned an interception for a touchdown against U of L.

LB – Marcus Oliver, Indiana – The Hoosiers’ leading tackler has a special ability to force fumbles – and proved it four times this season.

CB – Trumaine Washington, Louisville – He intercepted four passes and had his hands on five more. Makes you forget he is only 5 feet 10.

CB – Rashad Fant, Indiana – The only thing he needs to improve are his hands because Fant led the nation by breaking up 21 passes, without intercepting any.

S – Josh Harvey Clemons, Louisville – Big-time hitter and defender who can become an even better player by eliminating the unnecessary penalties.

S – A. J. Stamps, Kentucky – The Wildcats’ second-leading tackler also broke up eight passes while intercepting one.

P – Josh Appleby, Louisville – Solid, strong dependable leg. Appleby dropped 25 of his 63 punts inside the 20-yard line and had 11 kicks of at least 50 yards.

PR – Mitchell Paige, Indiana – Cue the Wes Welker comparisons because Paige, barely 5 feet 7, returned two punts for touchdowns, including one for 91 yards. Also caught 46 passes and scored five TDs. Former walk-on.

Defensive player of the year: Keith Kelsey was the best player on the best defensive unit. Rarely in the wrong spot, Kelsey is a smart player with amazing instincts to know where the offense planned to attack.

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