Four Southern Illinois players were recognized by Missouri Valley Football Conference Monday.
Safety Jeremy Chinn was named to All-MVFC first team, while running back D.J. Davis, wide receiver Raphael Leonard and defensive end Anthony Knighton landed on the second team.
In addition, wide receiver Landon Lenoir, tight end Nigel Kilby and linebacker Bryce Notree were named honorable mention. Lenoir, whose brother Lance and cousin Laquon Treadwell are NFL receivers, is a Crete-Monee High School graduate.
A three-year starter and preseason All-MVFC pick, Chinn started seven games at safety and two at cornerback, before missing the final two games due to injury. The junior led the team with three interceptions and 95 interception return yards. He recorded a team-high seven pass breakups and was second in tackles with 55. He also forced two fumbles and blocked a field goal. He is the first Saluki defensive back to earn first-team honors since Mike McElroy in 2011.
"Jeremy Chinn is another brother! The drive, passion, and love he has for the game and his brothers keeps me going," Davis told Prairie State Pigskin. "He means a lot to SIU football because he does a lot for the program. He’s a great young man, respectful, smart, and very talented. It’s great having Chinn as a teammate and a brother."
Davis, meanwhile, led the conference and ranks 15th in the nation in all-purpose yards per game with 140.3. He rushed for 1,118 yards--the most by a Saluki running back since Jewel Hampton in 2011--and averaged 6.28 yards per carry. Davis recorded six 100-yard rushing games, including a career-best 201 yards versus South Dakota State. He was also a threat out of the backfield, catching 29 passes for 201 yards and caught at least two passes in 10 games.
"This honor means the world to me," Davis said. "One of my personal goals that I set out to achieve since the end of last year. Set the goal and worked for it. It also means a lot to me because this honor isn’t just for me but for my team as well because I wouldn’t have done it without them!"
At 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, Leonard led the Salukis and finished second in receptions in the MVFC with 57. He had 847 receiving yards, the third most in the league and the sixth-most all-time at Southern. Leonard averaged 77.0 receiving yards per game and caught seven touchdowns. He had three games with more than 100 yards receiving, including six catches for 117 yards and two TDs at Ole Miss. In two seasons at Southern, Leonard caught at least one pass in every game and 91 total.
One of the league's top pass rushers, Knighton ranked second in the MVFC with 8.5 sacks--the most by a Saluki defender since James Cloud in 2007. The sophomore also ranked third in the MVFC with 13.5 tackles for loss. Knighton added five quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, an interception and a blocked kick. The 2017 runner up for MVFC Freshman of the Year has started all 22 games of his SIU career and has 15.0 career sacks.
In his first season at SIU, Kilby caught 16 passes for 230 yards, a 14.38 average and six touchdowns. He played in nine games and missed two due to injury. Kilby recorded a career-high seven catches for 109 yards and two TDs against South Dakota.
Lenoir had a breakout season as a sophomore for the Salukis, finishing seventh in the MVFC in catches with 48. He caught at least two passes in every game and had a career-high nine receptions at Ole Miss.
Notree, also a sophomore, led the Salukis and ranked 14th in the MVFC with 78 tackles. He added 2.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and a pair of interceptions.