Marshall's Beckett, Wells, Holliday all named C-USA award winners

Sholten Singer/The Register-HeraldMarshall linebacker Tavante Beckett (4) pressures Florida Atlantic quarterback Nick Tronti as he attempts a pass Oct. 24 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington. Beckett was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Marshall’s entire body of work was again reflected on Conference USA’s awards day.

Tavante Beckett was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Grant Wells is the Freshman of the Year and Doc Holliday is the Coach of the Year for the second time, the league announced Tuesday.

Beckett, a senior linebacker who transferred from Virginia Tech in 2018, leads C-USA with 9.6 tackles per game. He also had 7.5 tackles for loss and led the nation with four fumble recoveries. He forced a fumble in the Thundering Herd’s 17-7 win over Appalachian State, for which he was named Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week after amassing 16 tackles.

Beckett, along with junior running back Brenden Knox and senior offensive lineman Josh Ball, has announced he will skip the Herd’s Camellia Bowl appearance against Buffalo on Christmas Day to concentrate on preparing for the NFL Draft.

Wells had a breakout season after earning the starting job to replace Isaiah Green, who unexpectedly left the program in July. He was a three-time C-USA Player of the Week winner, including back-to-back weeks (Nov. 9-16). He completed 152 of 250 passes (60.8 percent) for a league-best 1,877 yards and 18 touchdowns, also tops in the conference.

His best game came in a 42-14 win over Middle Tennessee on Nov. 14, the 50th anniversary of the Marshall football plane crash. He threw for 363 yards and five touchdowns and was named the Manning Award National Quarterback of the Week.

He led Marshall to a 7-0 start and No. 15 AP Top 25 ranking to that point, but five of his nine interceptions came in the Herd’s next game, a 20-0 loss to Rice on Dec. 5. The Herd won the C-USA East Division, but Wells was 0-of-10 in the first half of a 22-13 loss to UAB in the C-USA championship game last Friday.

Holliday added to the Coach of the Year award he earned in 2014, when Marshall defeated Louisiana Tech for the league championship. His 138 games as head coach are the most in program history, as are his 77 victories over FBS opponents. Marshall is 6-1 in bowl games under Holliday.

Last week, Holliday was named the AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year.

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