Northern Illinois also emerged with two player awards.
(CLICK READ MORE FOR DETAILS . . . )
2017 MAC Specialty Award Winners
Coach of the Year: Jason Candle, Toledo
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Logan Woodside, Toledo
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Special Teams Player of the Year: KR Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
Freshman of the Year: QB Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner: QB Logan Woodside, Toledo
A native of Frankfort, Ky, Woodside has started all 12 games this season in leading the Rockets to a 10-2 overall record and was 225-345 passing for 3,451 yards and 24 touchdowns. Woodside’s 3,451 passing yards leads the MAC and ranks 13th nationally, while his 24 touchdown passes also leads the MAC and ranks tied for 24th in the country. During his Rockets career, Woodside is the first player in program history to throw for over 10,000 yards as he set the Toledo career passing record with 10,083 career yards and 89 career touchdown passes. His 10,083 career passing yards ranks 14th in MAC history, while his 89 career passing touchdowns ranks tied for seventh in league history. In addition, Woodside’s career completion percentage (720-1,110 passing) of 65.5% ranks third in MAC history.
Candle in his second season in leading the Toledo program has the Rockets in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game for the first time since 2004 and the program’s first outright West Division title since 1998. Candle has continued the legacy of the Toledo football program with another 10-win season, the ninth time in program history that a Rocket team has won at least 10 games in a season, while Toledo has also won at least nine games in six of the last seven seasons. Candle has been with the Toledo program since 2009, first as an assistant coach, and then assumed the head coaching duties last season and led the Rockets to a 9-4 overall record in 2016 and a berth to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.
Smith, a native of St. Charles, Mo., leads the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss as the sophomore has exploded on the college football scene this 2017 season. Smith has started all 12 games at defensive end and has posted 14 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss, and ranks fourth on the Huskies’ with 56 tackles, and has added three forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles. The sophomore set a new Huskie record for quarterback sacks in a single season, breaking the mark previously held by Larry English (12, 2007) and the school record for tackles for loss in a single season, breaking the previous mark held by Scott Kellar (20, 1984). Smith was part of a NIU defense that led the Huskies to a 8-4 overall record and bowl eligible for the eighth time in the last nine years.
Childers, a native of Adairsville, Ga., began the season third on the depth chart and took over the NIU offense in late September and ended up appearing in 11 games and was 137-of-239 passing for 1,440 yards and 15 passing touchdowns. Childers came in and settled the offense and added 454 yards rushing on 132 attempts and five rushing touchdowns.
Phillips, a native of Detroit, Mich., has been an electrifying playmaker throughout his collegiate career. During the 2017 season, Phillips has two kickoff returns for touchdowns with 26 total returns for 683 yards (26.3 avg.), with a long return of 100 yards for a score. He added 13 punt returns for 104 yards (8.0 avg.), and a long of 49 yards. During his collegiate career, Phillips has set the FBS record with 12 returns during his career, including five career kickoff returns, five interceptions returned for touchdowns, one punt return and one fumble return.
Toledo led the way in 2017 with seven First-Team selections, followed by Western Michigan with five First-Team selections and Northern Illinois with four First-Team honorees. Overall, Ohio and Western Michigan set the pace with 12 All-MAC honorees each, followed by Northern Illinois with 10 All-MAC selections and Toledo and Central Michigan with nine All-MAC honorees.
Bowling Green senior punter Joseph Davidson was the only three-time First Team All-MAC honoree in this year’s honors. There were a total of eight students named to their second consecutive First-Team selection: quarterback Logan Woodside (Toledo), offensive linemen Max Scharping (Northern Illinois), Chukwuma Okorafor (Western Michigan), linebackers Ulysees Gilbert (Akron), Quentin Poling (Ohio), defensive backs Amari Coleman (Central Michigan), Darius Phillips (Western Michigan) and Davidson.