2017 All-OVC Football Teams
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The 2017 All-Ohio Valley Conference football teams were released this afternoon as six University of Tennessee at Martin players were voted as the league’s best by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.
UT Martin was represented on the All-OVC first team by senior safety Kahlid Hagens for the second consecutive season. The offense was represented by junior running back Ladarius Galloway while the defensive trio of senior nose tackle Jay Murphy, junior linebacker James Gilleylen and senior safety Tae Martin were joined on the All-OVC second team by freshman specialist Peyton Logan. The pair of Galloway and Logan also added to their postseason honors with a spot on the All-Newcomer squad.
Jacksonville State senior running back Roc Thomas was named OVC Offensive Player of the Year while senior lineman Darius Jackson was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year. Austin Peay head coach Will Healy was named the Roy Kidd OVC Coach of the Year while quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall was tabbed OVC Freshman of the Year.
A native of Maplewood, Mo., Hagens earned his second career All-OVC first team selection after a strong senior campaign. Despite suffering a season-ending injury late in the season, Hagens proved to be one of the more dominant secondary players in the league after tallying 49 tackles – including 27 solos and 22 assists. He notched 3.0 tackles for loss totaling 13 yards along with a strip sack against Eastern Illinois which was returned for a touchdown. He added three interceptions and three forced fumbles to go along with five pass breakups. Hagens ranked in the top-25 nationally in forced fumbles, interceptions and punt return touchdowns.
Hailing from Indianola, Miss., Galloway exploded onto the scene for the Skyhawks in his first season to earn two OVC Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week honors each. Ranking amongst the nation’s leading rushers for much of the season, Galloway tallied 172 carries for 859 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also notched 22 receptions for 307 yards. His best game came against Ole Miss when he tallied 188 rushing yards and a touchdown. His 859 rushing yards ranks as the program’s 10th best individual season rushing performance. He finished the season ranked third in the OVC in rushing yards and rushing yards per game (78.1) while sitting fifth in all-purpose yards (106.0 ypg).
A native of Lewisburg, Tenn., Murphy polished off a stellar four-year career for the Skyhawks with his first postseason honor. Murphy tallied 39 tackles on the season, including 14 solos and 25 assists. He has tallied five tackles for loss totaling eight yards – including one sack against No. 15 Chattanooga. His pair of fumble recoveries ranked second in the league while tallying three quarterback hurries and one pass breakup.
Hailing from Tupelo, Miss., Gilleylen proved to be a force at the center of the linebacker core. Gilleylen posted a team-high 88 total tackles – including 32 solos and 56 assists. He recorded nine tackles for loss totaling 24 yards while tallying a pair of sacks. In addition to his tackling prowess, he notched five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Gilleylen finished the season ranked in the OVC in forced fumbles (second), fumbles recovered (third), tackles (fifth) and tackles for loss (15th).
A native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Martin capped off his stellar Skyhawk career with his second All-OVC second team honor in as many years. Martin tallied 53 total tackles – including 27 solos and 26 assists. Additionally, he recorded 2.5 tackles for loss totaling seven yards. Serving as a menace in the secondary, Martin tallied four interceptions – including 57 return yards – while notching five pass breakups. He finished the season ranked second in the OVC in interceptions and seventh in passes defended.
Hailing from Horn Lake, Miss., Logan proved to be explosive in his true freshman season for the Skyhawks. The running back made moves on special teams, earning postseason honors after notching 22 kickoff returns for 593 yards and one touchdown. His best game came against Eastern Kentucky when he broke loose on a kickoff return for a 95-yard touchdown to earned OVC Specialist of the Week honors. Logan ranked fifth nationally with his lone kickoff return for a touchdown while his 27.0 yards per return ranked ninth nationally.
The Skyhawks concluded the 2017 season with a 6-5 record, including a 4-4 mark in league play – marking the 13th consecutive season in which UT Martin finished at least .500 in the league standings. The 2017 season marked UT Martin’s 11th season with an overall record of .500 or better since joining the Division-I ranks in 1992. Nine of the aforementioned 11 seasons have occurred in Simpson’s 12-year tenure.
UT Martin finished the regular season ranked nationally in the top-10 in red zone defense (third, 60.6 percent), scoring defense (fourth, 14.3), third down conversion defense (fifth, 28.7 percent), total defense (sixth, 273.8 ypg), punt return defense (seventh, 3.59), first downs defense (eighth, 168 ypg), team passing efficiency defense (eighth, 104.3), fourth down conversion defense (eighth, 28.6 percent), kickoff returns (eighth, 24.33 ypr) and passing yards allowed (ninth, 159.9 ypg).