Youngstown State sophomore defensive end Derek Rivers was named first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference, the league announced on Monday. Rivers was one of seven Penguins to earn postseason accolades.
Earning second-team honors were sophomore tailback Martin Ruiz and junior defensive end Terrell Williams. Four Penguins earned honorable-mention accolades as junior wide receiver Andrew Williams, senior long snapper Nathan Gibbs, junior linebacker Dubem Nwadiogbu and senior strong safety Donald D'Alesio were recognized.
Rivers is the first YSU defensive lineman to earn first-team honors since Mychal Savage in 2009. In 2014, Rivers had 14 sacks, the third-most by a player in school history and the most by a Penguin in the regular season. Of his 14 sacks, 10 came in Missouri Valley Football Conference action. He had 50 tackles on the season, 41 of which came in league play.
Ruiz, who was a second-team all-league pick in 2013, repeats as a second-team honoree this year. He rushed for 1,320 yards on 265 carries and had 10 touchdowns. In eight MVFC contests he had 866 yards on 177 attempts and scored four TDs. On eight occasions he went over the 100-yard mark, including five times in MVFC play.
Terrell Williams had the best season of his career finishing with 51 total tackles and 10 sacks playing opposite Rivers. Or note, all 10 of his sacks came in eight MVFC contests as he registered sacks in six contests.
Andrew Williams led the team with 54 catches for 976 yards and six touchdowns. Of his 54 catches, 47 came in conference play and covered 776 yards. In eight league games he averaged 97 yards per game and 16.5 yards per reception. He became a go-to target with six-or-more receptions in each of the final six games of the year.
Gibbs, a four-year starter at snapper, helped the Penguins go 14-of-17 on field-goal attempts, 38-of-39 on PAT tries and average 37.8 yards per punt.
Nwadiogbu had a breakout year and became the first Penguin with more than 100 tackles since Marty Hutchison in 2006. Nwadiogbu's 104 total tackles were the most in a regular season since Yancey Marcum had 114 in 2003. In MVFC play, he registered 71 total tackles, including 35 solo stops. On nine occasions, he had seven-or-more tackles and had season highs of 13 against Western Illinois and North Dakota State.
D'Alesio capped off his career finishing second on the team with a career-best 91 total tackles. In MVFC play he finished with 70 total tackles, including 38 solo stops. In 11 games he had five-or-more tackles.