Three Penguins Earn First-Team All-MVFC Honors; Nine Earn Accolades

Andre Stubbs, Chris Elkins, Nick Liste
Andre Stubbs, Chris Elkins, Nick Liste

Youngstown State senior center Chris Elkins, senior punter Nick Liste and sophomore return specialist Andre Stubbs were named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference's first team, the league announced on Monday.

In total, YSU had nine players named to the all-conference team. Freshman tailback Martin Ruiz, senior quarterback Kurt Hess and junior linebacker Teven Williams were second-team picks while senior defensive end Kyle Sirl, senior fullback Carson Sharbaugh and junior tight end Nate Adams were honorable-mention all-league selections.

Elkins, who moved from guard to center for his senior campaign, earned first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive season. He started all 12 contests at center this season helping pave the way for Ruiz, who was the MVFC freshman and newcomer of the year, while Hess threw for more than 2,000 yards for the fourth straight campaign. Elkins is the first Penguin since Brad Samsa (2007-08) to earn first-team recognition in two straight years.

Stubbs is just the second Penguin to be named first-team All-MVFC as a return specialist. Jerald Burley was named first-team all-league in 2001 as a return specialist. Stubbs led the conference in kickoff return average at 26.9 yards per return. It is the first time since joining the league a Penguin led the conference in kickoff return average. His total was the third-best single-season average in school history. He ranked seventh among conference plays in all-purpose yards per game.

Liste is the third YSU punter to be named first-team all-conference. He joins Joe Bishop (2006) and Anthony Rozzo (1999) as Penguin punters who earned first-team accolades. As a freshman in 2010, Liste was an honorable-mention all-league pick. As a senior in 2013, Liste crushed the school record for punting average at 44.2 yards per punt. He had a career-high 16 punts of 50 yards or more. He led the conference in punting average becoming the first YSU punter to do so.

Hess earned second-team honors this year behind conference player of the year, North Dakota State QB Brock Jensen. During his career Hess was a first-team (2011) and honorable-mention (2012) selection as well. As a senior, he completed 164-of-265 passes for 2,229 yards and 22 touchdowns during the 12-game campaign. He averaged 185.8 yards per contest completing 61.9 percent of his attempts.

Ruiz, the league freshman and newcomer of the year, earned second-team honors behind South Dakota State's Zach Zenner and UNI's David Johnson. Ruiz set school freshman records 192 carries, 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns. His yardage total ranked him second in conference history in rushing yards by a frosh. Ruiz ranked third in the MVFC behind Johnson and Zenner with 132.1 all-purpose yards a contest. It is the fourth straight year that YSU's primary tailback has been named to the first or second team.

Williams, an honorable-mention honoree as a freshman in 2011, was a second-team pick as a junior. He led the Penguins with 81 total tackles, including 46 solo stops. In league play he had a total of 60 tackles. He is the first YSU linebacker to be named to the first or second All-MVFC team since James Terry in 2007.

Sirl, Sharbaugh and Adams were all first-team all-conference recipients. All three were in action in all 12 contests while Sirl started all 12 games as a defensive end. Adams and Sharbaugh combined to catch six touchdown passes for the season.

Sharbaugh is the first Penguin fullback to earn all-league honors since Demetrius Ison in 2005 (first team). Adams is the first tight end to be an all-conference pick since Derrick Bush in 2007 (second team).

#66 Chris Elkins, C, 6-4, 300, Sr., Beaver Falls, Pa. (Beaver Falls)
Started all 12 games at center…had previously started at guard in the first three years of his career…was team Offensive Lineman of the Game five times…preseason first-team all-MVFC selection…also a preseason All-America pick…played every snap in seven games…grade for season was 87 percent (highest in four years)…had a grade above 90 percent twice… played 717 snaps and had just four missed assignments…YSU had 1,000-yard rusher for fourth straight season with him on the offensive line.

#81 Nick Liste, P, 5-10, 185, Sr., Niles, Ohio (Niles McKinley)
Averaged a school-record 44.2 yards per punt…broke the previous mark by 2.4 yards that was set in 1985…had 50 punts for 2,208 yards on the season…finished with a career-best 16 50-plus yard boots…had punts longer than 50 yards in eight games…had a career-long 68-yard kick on last punt of his career against South Dakota State…had 17 inside the 20-yard line…in MVFC play had 31 punts for an average of 42.4 yards…had seven of more than 50 yards and placed 13 inside the 20.

#4 Andre Stubbs, WR/KR, YSU, 5-7, 165, So., Maple Heights, Ohio (Maple Heights)
Led the team with 29 receptions for 359 yards and five touchdowns…also had 16 rushing attempts for 158 yards and 25 kickoff returns for 672 yards…finished with 1,198 all-purpose yards…in MVFC play, had 20 catches for 240 yards and four touchdowns…caught TD passes against North Dakota State, UNI and at Southern Illinois (two)…also had a TD catch against Morehead State…caught a passes in all 12 games.

#29 Martin Ruiz, TB, YSU, 5-11, 195, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Robinson)
Set a school freshman records with 192 carries, 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns…averaged 91.2 yards per game and 5.7 per carry…had four 100-yard rushing performances, three of which were in MVFC play…had a high of 199 against Western Illinois…had 131 at South Dakota and 141 at Indiana State…in league play, rushed for 831 yards on 147 attempts and scored eight touchdowns…averaged 103.9 yards per game…had 1,585 all-purpose yards (235 on 10 kickoff returns and 20 receptions for 256 yards)…scored touchdowns in nine of 12 games.

#12 Kurt Hess, QB, YSU, 6-3, 230, Sr., Dayton, Ohio (Chaminade-Julienne)
Completed 164-of-265 passes for 2,229 yards and 22 touchdowns in 12 games…averaged 185.8 yards per game with a completion percentage of 61.9…in MVFC play was 113-of-175 for 1,461 yards and 16 touchdowns…averaged 182.6 yards per contest…had a rating of 160.30 in league games…had six 200-yard plus passing games, including a career-high 311 vs. Illinois State…threw four touchdown passes against Southern Illinois and Illinois State…three-time MVFC Offensive Player of the Week…rushed for 106 yards on 53 carries and had four touchdowns…all four TDs were in league play…set numerous school records during his four-year career.

#3 Teven Williams, LB, 5-11, 215, Sr., Huber Heights, Ohio (Wayne)
Led the team with 81 total tackles playing in 11 games…credited with 46 solo stops and 35 assists…had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries…also had four TFLs…in league play had a team-high 60 tackles, including 32 solos…had a season-high 13 tackles in win at Southern Illinois…had six-or-more tackles on eight occasions…had nine stops against Western Illinois and NDSU…had a sack against South Dakota State.

#86 Carson Sharbaugh, FB, YSU, 6-5, 260, Sr., New Wilmington, Pa. (New Wilmington)
Played in all 12 games and moved into the fullback role when conference play started…had 13 rushing attempts for 36 yards and caught 10 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns on the year…all 13 rushing attempts were in league play…of those 11 went for a first down on third or fourth and short…caught seven passes in MVFC play and had touchdowns against Illinois State and Southern Illinois…caught passes in six games and had two receptions four times…did not have a career rushing attempt until Sept. 28 and had six at SIU.

#44 Nate Adams, TE, YSU, 6-5, 240, Jr., Newark, Ohio (Newark Catholic)
Played in all 12 games and started nine at tight end…caught 15 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns…four touchdowns were second most on the team…in league play had nine catches for 107 yards and three scores….had receptions in eight games…caught touchdown passes vs. North Dakota State, Western Illinois, Southern Illinois and Duquesne.

#33 Kyle Sirl, DE, 6-3, 260, Sr., Westfield, Ohio (Cloverleaf)
Started all 12 games at defensive end…one of only three players to start all 12 games on defense…finished with 46 total tackles, including a team-high 12 TFLs…of his 46 tackles, 30 were solo stops…had 38 tackles in MVFC play, including 10.5 TFLs and four sacks…finished with a season-high 10 stops against Western Illinois…had six solo stops at UNI, a season best…had sacks vs. Indiana State, Illinois State and WIU.