Dec. 21, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-Marshall’s dynamic offensive trio of quarterback Rakeem Cato, tight end Gator Hoskins and wide receiver Tommy Shuler were honored once again this week as all three were selected to CollegeFootballNews.com’s All-Conference USA team.
This is the fourth such honor for the bunch as they were also selected to the all-league teams released previously by the C-USA coaches, CollegeSportsMadness.com and Phil Steele. Earlier this month, CFN named punter Tyler Williams a first-team Freshman All-American.
CFN did not select an MVP, but rather, ranked the league’s top 30 players. Cato, also the outlet’s Offensive Player of the Year, was ranked first, while Shuler checked in at No. 10.
CFN called Cato the league’s biggest surprise of 2012, while his 341-yard, four-touchdown effort in a 38-28 win over Memphis was named the conference’s second-best performance of the year.
Cato leads the FBS in completions/game (33.83) and passing yards/game (350.08) and is third in TD passes (37), fifth in total offense/game (352.67) and completion percentage (69.5). He also leads C-USA in pass efficiency (147.1). He led a Herd unit that is second in the nation in third-down conversion percentage (54.59) and first downs per game (29.42) and his 66.2% career completion mark (588-of-888) is currently a school record, just ahead of Herd legends Chad Pennington (65.1) and Byron Leftwich (63.4). Earlier this season, he was named to the Manning Award Watch List (nation’s top collegiate quarterback). The Herd quarterback has also been named the league’s MVP, CollegeSportsMadness.com’s Offensive Player of the Year and one of the Touchdown Club of Columbus’ 2013 Players to Watch. His MVP honor marked the first time C-USA awarded it to an underclassman and it was the Herd’s first since joining Conference USA. He also became the first Marshall offensive player to win a top conference award since Leftwich was named the Mid-American Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2002.
Hoskins had 10 touchdown catches this season, the highest total nationally among tight ends and a mark that is tied for the most in C-USA. His 72-yard touchdown catch against league-leading Tulsa was the Herd’s longest play of the season. He was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List and the National Tight End of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards after his three-touchdown performance in West Lafayette.
Shuler is tied for second nationally with 9.17 catches per game (leading C-USA) and his 110 total catches set a school record, becoming just the fifth C-USA student-athlete to record 100-plus single-season catches and the first underclassman to accomplish the feat. He is also currently second in the league in receiving yards per game (94.8). Midway through the season, he was named a Biletnikoff Award Watch List honoree. His 19 catches at Purdue not only set a school record, but were the most in the nation since the 2009 C-USA Championship Game. His 200 receiving yards in that game also were the most by a Herd player in more than a decade.