Hollins headlines EIU all-conference selections

Hollins headlines EIU all-conference selections
Alexander Hollins (15) was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference first team. (photo courtesy of EIUPanthers.com)

Senior wide receiver Alexander Hollins headlined a group of six Eastern Illinois players honored by the Ohio Valley Conference Tuesday.

Hollins was named the OVC first team after ranking among the nation's top wide receivers all season. 

"It’s an great honor," Hollins told Prairie State Pigskin. "Huge shout out to my coaching staff and my o-line. They all were amazing this year."

The honor comes a day after Hollins was named one of 25 finalists for this year's Walter Payton FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award. 

Hollins was second in the FCS with 16 touchdown receptions.  The Mississippi native had 80 catches for 1,102 yards during the season with both totals ranking in the top 15 in the FCS.  

"Arkansas was my favorite game because I’ve never played in front of that many people," Hollins said of the Panthers' season-opener against the Southeastern Conference Razorbacks.

Other honorees

EIU running back Isaiah Johnson, tight end James Sheehan, defensive lineman Levi Brown and kicker/punter Nick Bruno were named to the All-OVC second team.

Quarterback Johnathan Brantley, a transfer from Tulane, was selected for the All-OVC Newcomer Team.
 
According to the EIU athletics website, Hollins had five games with multiple touchdown catches and five games with 100 or more yards receiving.  He was an All-OVC Newcomer selection as a junior in 2017.
 
Johnson was named a second team All-OVC running back for the second straight season.  He finished the year as the Panthers top rusher with 708 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.  Johnson added 30 catches for 215 yards.  Johnson ended the season with three straight 100-yard rushing games and posted four 100-yard rushing games for the season.

James Sheehan

James Sheehan

Sheehan, a Homewood-Floosmoor graduate, ranked first among OVC tight ends in catches this season with 50.  Sheehan had 544 yards and three touchdowns.  His best receiving day was 108 yards at Eastern Kentucky.  He had seven games during the season with five or more catches including a high of eight against Tennessee State.
 
Watson was the team leader with three sacks on the season.  Watson finished the year with 55 tackles including ten tackles for loss, three pass break-ups and four quarterback hurries.  He posted a season high ten tackles against UT Martin.
 
Bruno was the second team All-OVC selection at both place kicker and punter.  The senior was 12-of-14 in field goal attempts this season and perfect from inside of 40-yards.  He was 37-of-40 on extra points as he finished his EIU career ranking second in both career field goals made and career extra points made.  As a punter Bruno averaged 40.4 yards per punt and ranked first in the OVC with 20 punts pinned inside the 20-yard line.
 
Brantley started nine of the 11 games at quarterback this season.  The Houston native set the OVC record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception at 230.  He passed for 2,016 yards with 14 passing touchdowns and another six rushing touchdowns.  Brantley's passing numbers for the season were 200-of-307 as he is completion percentage of 65.1 percent ranked eighth in the nation.

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