ANGOLA, IND. -- Trine University football was well represented on this year's All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Teams with senior quarterback Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) and junior defensive back Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) earning offensive and defensive "Player of the Year" awards. It marks the second time Trine has had someone named both the offensive and defensive MVP since joining the MIAA with the last time being during the 2010 campaign.
Wyse earns first-team All-MIAA accolades and becomes the fifth Trine player to be named MIAA "Offensive Player of the Year" with the last Thunder player earning the award in 2014 (Taylor Masiewicz). Wyse has had a standout senior season and ranked in the top-10 in the MIAA in every statistical category as a passer. He led the conference in touchdown passes during the regular season with 17 and ranked sixth in passing yards at 1,401. He has completed 69-of-118 passes (58.5 percent) and averages 140.1 passing yards per game. On the ground, Wyse ranks sixth in the MIAA, and second on the team, in rushing with 905 yards on 116 carries (7.8 yards per carry) and has scored 11 rushing TD. He has rushed for 100 yards or more in six games this season. Wyse is leading the team in total offense with a total of 2,306 yards (905 rushing and 1,401 passing) and averages 230.6 yards per game.
Winters repeats as a first-team selection and earns his first defensive MVP award. He is now the fourth Trine player to be named MVP and the first since the 2010 season (Aaron Selking). Winters helps lead a Trine defense that is one of the top in the MIAA, but also in the nation as the Thunder rank 37th in total defense. Trine also ranks nationally in interceptions (seventh) with 20 that includes five INTs by Winters alone. For the season, Winters has made 23 tackles (19 solo and four assists), including a half tackle for loss, in addition to a forced fumble.
Joining Wyse on the list of first-team honorees are junior running back Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales), junior wide receiver Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross), junior tight end Elijah Klepper (Mendon, Mich./Mendon), senior offensive linemen Andrew Hagar (Millersburg, Ind./Fairfield) and Mitchell Watts (Goshen, Ind./Goshen).
Carswell has recorded his second straight season with 1,000 yards or more (1,344 yards) and had a league-leading, and single-season school record, 22 rushing TD during the regular season. He ranked in the top-five in the MIAA in several statistical categories including yards (3rd - 1,344), rushes (5th - 166), yards per game (3rd - 134.4), yards per rush (2nd - 8.1) and touchdowns (1st - 22). He has had six straight games, dating back to Oct. 7, with 100 yards or more rushing, including three games of 200 yards or more. Carswell is 13th nationally in rushing yards and fourth in rushing TD. He has also set school single-season records in total points scored (144), total touchdowns with 24 (22 rushing and two receiving), and is the current single-season leader for yards per game (134.4). For his career, Carswell is currently second all-time in rushing yards with 2,914.
Barnett earns his second consecutive first-team All-MIAA recognition having led the team in receptions (34), yards (709) and TD (nine). His 709 receiving yards are the fourth most in the MIAA and his nine TD catches are second most. He also ranks in the top-five in yards per game (4th - 70.9) and yards per catch (2nd - 20.9). In addition, his 34 receptions rank ninth amongst MIAA receivers.
Barnett also repeated as a first-team recipient on special teams as a return specialist. It is his third time he has earned All-MIAA honors on special teams. Barnett led the conference in return average at 30.5 yards per attempt and had one return for a touchdown that came via a 95 yard return against Albion on Oct. 7. His 95-yard TD return tied him for the third longest kickoff return in program history.
Klepper and Hagar both earn All-Conference accolades for the first time in their careers and Watts was tabbed All-MIAA for the second time (first time as a first-team selection). In addition, sophomore offensive lineman Tristan Edwards (Elida, Ohio/Elida) was tabbed second-team All-MIAA, marking his first All-Conference selection of his career. All four have helped anchor one of the best offensive squads not only in the MIAA, but all of NCAA Division III. The Trine offense led the conference in total offense (4,891 yards), yards per game (489.1) and rushing yards (3,403). The Thunder currently rank as the 13th best offense in the country, including having the fourth-best rushing attack with an average of 340.3 ypg. As a unit, the offense has already set school records for rushing yards in a season (3,403), rushing TDs (41), and are on pace to set single-season marks in yards per rush (6.4) and rushing yards per game (340.3). Trine has rushed for over 300 yards in all but two games this season and have surpassed 400 yards on the ground in a pair of games with a season-best 419 yards against Adrian (Mich.) College on Oct. 28.
On the defensive side of the ball, in addition to Winters, senior defensive lineman Me'Leick Miles (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), sophomore linebacker Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) and junior defensive back Cayleel Hill (Owings, Md./Owings Mills) were all selected first-team. The Trine defense allowed the second fewest yards per game in the MIAA this season (292.3) with Miles on the front line to make 38 total tackles (20 solo and 18 assists) with a team-high 10 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks. His 10 tackles for loss put him in a tie for ninth most in the league and his five sacks tied him for eighth. In addition, Miles has had a pair of fumble recoveries and a forced fumble so far this season.
Washington has stepped forward this season to be one of the top defensive players in the conference in only his second season with the program. He currently leads the team in tackles with 69 (28 solo and 41 assists) and is second in both tackles for loss (7.0) and sacks (3.0). He had three games of 10 or more tackles during the regular season with a season and career-high 13 stops against Adrian. In addition to leading the team in tackles, Washington has recovered a fumble and forced a fumble through 10 games.
Hill, along with Winters, completes one of the best tandems in the defensive secondary in the MIAA and Div. III. Hill led the MIAA in interceptions with a school single-season tying high eight picks. He had one game this season in which he picked off two passes which came against Concordia-Chicago in late September. Hill has totaled 20 tackles this seaosn (16 solo and four assists) and has broken up a team-best six passes.
Joining Edwards as a second-team offense selection is senior wideout Andrew Bonfiglio (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales). Bonfiglio has been the number two target for Wyse this season with 19 receptions for 318 yards and a pair of TD. Both his 19 receptions and 318 receiving yards are second highest on the team and his two TD catches tie him for second most. He has averaged 16.7 yards per catch this season which is a career high.
Trine had two players earn second-team defense All-MIAA honors in senior linebacker Kyle Wiswell (Three Rivers, Mich./Mendon) and senior defensive back Robert Riley (Mendon, Mich./Mendon). Wiswell has made a career-high 37 tackles (16 solo and 21 assists) at the conclusion of the regular season and has recorded two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns (79 and 62 yards), becoming the first player in program history to do so. His 141 interception return yards are also a single-season record.
Riley earnes his first All-Conference award as a defensive back, but has also seen playing time as the team's starting punter. On defense, Riley is second on the team in tackles with a career-best 56 (19 solo and 37 assists), including 1.5 tackles for loss. He has also blocked a kick which came on an extra point attempt against Adrian that helped lead to a 55-34 win against the Bulldogs. As a punter, Riley has averaged 34.1 yards per punt on 24 attempts and has had 11 fair catches and five punts inside the 20-yard line.
The Trine football team will make its fourth appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament this Saturday, Nov. 18 when the Thunder host Monmouth (Ill.) College at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at noon.