by Rick Kindhart
Six Missouri State University football players were honored Monday with the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s announcement of its all-conference teams.
Leading the way for the Bears were linebacker McNeece Egbim (Sr., Rowlett, Texas) and long snapper Chandler Collins (Sr., Springfield, Mo.) who were selected to the All-MVFC first-team at their respective positions. Punter Brendan Withrow (Sr., Imperial, Mo.) was named to the All-Valley second team.
A trio of senior standouts were also tabbed with conference honors as quarterback Peyton Huslig (Andover, Kan.), defensive end Matt McClellan (Ferguson, Mo.) and wide receiver Tyler Currie (Cordova, Tenn.) earned All-MVFC honorable mention distinction.
The team’s six all-conference honorees is its most since the 2017 season.
“We’re proud of our all-conference selections and their achievements this season,” said head coach Dave Steckel. “We hope to build off this year’s awards and have many more in the future.”
Egbim brought down a team-high 94 ball carriers in 2019, including 9.5 tackles for loss and a sack from his linebacker position. He led all league defenders in tackles per game (9.9) during conference play and had five double-figure tackle games. The Bears’ co-captain averaged 8.5 tackles per game overall which ranks sixth in MVFC and 57th nationally at the end of the regular season. His 336 career tackles ranks 14th on MSU‘s career list. Egbim was also a 2016 and 2018 All-MVFC honorable mention selection as well as a member of the 2016 MVFC All-Newcomer Team.
Collins’ presence on special teams often went overlooked, but his consistent and laser-sharp long snaps made him a four-year starter for the Bears and one of the nation’s finest at that position in 2019. He posted an exceptional efficiency ratio on punts, PAT’s and field goals, recovered a key fumble at Illinois State and was named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America third team earlier this fall.
Withrow ranked second in the Valley and 14th nationally in punting average (42.8) and led the league in punting yards (3,208). He was a two-time MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019 and earned STATS FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 51.6 yards on 7 punts in win at Western Illinois. Withrow also booted 18 punts this season of 50 or more yards and had 21 downed inside the 20-yard line. His career punting average (41.7) ranks third all-time at Missouri State.
Huslig made 33 consecutive starts to end his career, while his 210.1 passing yards and 20.8 completions per game both ranked second in the Missouri Valley this season. Huslig also ranked fourth in the Valley in total offense with 216.7 yards per game. He finished his MSU career ranked second all-time in total offense (7,465) and touchdown passes (38), while ranking third in Bears’ history in completions (553) and passing yardage (6,405). He also posted 12 200-yard passing games and four 100-yard rushing games in his career, while earning All-MVFC honorable mention and MVFC All-Newcomer Team laurels in 2017.
Currie ranked second in the Valley in receptions per game (4.8), which ranked 65th nationally at the end of the regular season. He led the Bears with 53 receptions for 543 yards and had multiple receptions in 10-of-11 games this year, including season-high 9 catches for 87 yards vs. South Dakota. He was also a 2018 All-MVFC honorable mention selection and ended his career with 95 receptions for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which ranked among the top 20 receivers in program history.
McClellan was the Bears’ most-feared pass rusher, posting tackles for loss in seven different games his senior year. He finished the 2019 season with 36 total tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. He brought down nine ball carriers in the season opener at Northern Arizona and later logged a pair of sacks in the Bears’ win at Western Illinois. He finished his two-year career with the Bears with 75 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks in just 22 games. He was also a member of the 2018 MVFC All-Newcomer Team.
Missouri State’s all-conference selections represent six of the Bears’ 19 seniors on the 2019 roster.