Ito Smith, Senior: Doak Walker Award (Running Back), Maxwell Award (Outstanding Player) and All-Conference USA
Ito Smith finished 2016 with 1,459 yards, 5.5 per carry. In addition to that, he rushed for seventeen touchdowns – three shy of the USM single-season record. Smith will undoubtedly place an intricate role in the Southern Miss offense this season, and his high praise also sets high expectations.
Allenzae Staggers, Senior: Biletnikoff Award (Wide Receiver), Paul Hornung Award (Most Versatile) and All-Conference USA
Allenzae Staggers will be the Golden Eagles’ most reliable and effective deep threat in 2017. His 1,165 receiving yards last season came in what was surprisingly an up and down season. However, Staggers’ big games were explosive. He will more than likely repeat as the primary punt returner, illustrating why his bid as one of the most versatile players.
Julian Allen, Senior: John Mackey Award (Tight End)
Julian Allen will look to be utilized as both a receiving threat and a pass blocker for the Golden Eagles. Allen recorded 281 yards on just 19 receptions last season and will look to expand on those numbers in 2017. His 6’3”, 235 lb. build makes him monstrous at the line of scrimmage, creating matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Parker Shaunfield, Redshirt Junior: Lou Groza Award (Kicker)
Parker Shaunfield was given the starting job in 2016 and did not disappoint. He made all forty of his extra points, along with his first twelve field goals of the season. Shaunfield will fight this season to be named the top kicker in college football.