The Missouri Valley Football Conference has released its All-Conference team and top award winners. South Dakota State head football coach John Stiegelmeier has been named Missouri Valley coach of the year. He led the Jacks to a 10-1 record this season including a perfect 8-0 in conference play. He also has the Jacks with the top overall seed in the FCS playoffs currenlty ongoing.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR RB Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State 5-9, 183, Sr., Marshville, N.C. (Forest Hills High/Notre Dame College) In 11 games, McLaughlin rushed for 1,588 yards on 227 carries and scored 13 touchdowns. During league play, he had 1,220 yards on 184 attempts and nine scores, while averaging an impressive 152.5 yards in Conference games. McLaughlin scored TDs in eight of 11 games and had two touchdowns against Indiana State, South Dakota, and Southern Illinois in Conference play. During the year, he averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and also caught 19 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. He had four 200-yard plus efforts and eight 100-yard games and became the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher during the season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR LB Zeke Vandenburgh, Illinois State 6-3, 235, Sr., Freeport, Illinois (Freeport High) Zeke started all 10 games played in at outside linebacker and ranked No. 1 in the FCS in sacks per game and TFLs per game. He led the MVFC in sacks (14.0), TFLs (21.0) and was third in the league in tackles (100). The four-time MVFC Defensive Player of the Week recorded three sacks in three different games, including in the final two games of the season. He also finished the final two games of the year with 4.0 TFLs and had three-plus TFLs in five contests. He posted six double-digit tackle efforts, including a career-high 17 in the finale against Western Illinois, when he also recorded a career-best 3.5 sacks.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR WR Naseim Brantley, Western Illinois 6-4, 200, Jr., Farmingdale, N.J. (Howell High / Sacred Heart) In 10 games, Brantley had 53 catches, which ranked third-best in the MVFC, for a league-best 893 yards and nine touchdowns, which ranked 2nd in MVFC. The junior transfer from Sacred Heart averaged 89.3 yards per game to lead the Conference, and he averaged 16.85 yards per catch, which was third-best in the MVFC. Brantley had three touchdowns in the season-opening game against UT Martin and was named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR QB Cade Chambers, Indiana State 6-4, 215, R-Fr., Maryville, Tenn. (Maryville High) Chambers was the only Valley freshman to be named to the Jerry Rice Watch List (and subsequently was one of the 30 finalists nationwide to make the list. He finished with 938 passing yards and an 8:3 touchdownto-interception ratio. Chambers had a strong starting debut with 162 passing yards and three total touchdowns against North Dakota State, and he produced five total touchdowns and 311 passing yards against Youngstown State while earning league Freshman of the Week honors. Chambers also had three total touchdowns and 201 passing yards against Illinois State.
‘BRUCE CRADDOCK’ COACH OF THE YEAR John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State 26th season, 10-1 overall, 8-0 MVFC A finalist for the FCS Eddie Robinson Award, Stiegelmeier has led the Jackrabbits to a 10-1 overall record this season, including a perfect 8-0 mark in the MVFC. SDSU ascended to the top of the FCS polls for the first time in program history and has held the No. 1 ranking for six consecutive weeks entering the FCS playoffs. The top-seeded Jackrabbits are making their 11th straight appearance in the postseason and 12th berth overall under Stiegelmeier, who is in his 26th season in charge of the SDSU program. 2022 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Team.