WKU’s Rainey named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year

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Senior running back Bobby Rainey was named the Sun Belt Conference’s offensive player of the year after breaking WKU’s record for career rushing yards and single-season rushing yards. He rushed for 1,695 yards on 369 carries with 13 touchdowns, while catching 36 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns.

Brad Stephens

Bobby Rainey received one last Sun Belt Conference award on Wednesday.

The senior running back was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year after a year in which he broke WKU records for career and single-season rushing yards.

Rainey received the award for the second straight year.

He rushed for 1,695 yards on 369 carries with 13 touchdowns, while catching 36 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns.

Rainey led the Football Bowl Subdivision in carries and ranks second in rushing yards.

The Griffin, Ga., native was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week three times this season and was named WKU Team MVP at the Toppers’ year-end banquet on Sunday.

But Rainey lost out on Sun Belt Player of the Year honors to Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin.

Aplin completed 65.6 percent of his throws for 3,235 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and rushed 151 times for 605 yards and nine touchdowns in leading Arkansas State to its first-ever Sun Belt Championship.

WKU senior left tackle Wes Jeffries and sophomore middle linebacker Andrew Jackson were also named First Team All-Sun Belt.

Jeffries, a former Warren Central High School standout, helped pave the way for Rainey’s record season and also ran for his first career touchdown in the Toppers’ season finale against Troy.

Jackson recorded 109 tackles in his first year as a starter, ranking second in the league only to Troy defensive back Brynden Trawick’s 123. He also tallied 17 tackles for loss, including 3.5 sacks, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble.

Junior tight end Jack Doyle, junior right guard Adam Smith, senior cornerback Derrius Brooks and junior defensive end Quanterus Smith represented WKU on the All-Sun Belt second team.

Doyle caught 52 passes for 614 yards in 2011 — team highs in both categories.

Adam Smith started all 12 games for the Toppers, helping the team lead the Sun Belt in rushing yardage.

Brooks intercepted four passes, made 48 tackles and forced a fumble.

And Quanterus Smith had a team-high 6.5 sacks to go along with his 38 tackles, 11 of which came for loss.

Senor defensive ends Bo Adebayo and Jared Clendenin were named All-Sun Belt Honorable Mentions.

Adebayo recorded 31 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, and four sacks.

Meanwhile Clendenin, the team’s defensive captain, made 37 tackles, nine of which came for a loss and recorded 3.5 sacks in just nine games.

The Toppers’ nine all-Sun Belt selections were a high for the program since joining the league as a full member in 2009.

WKU went 7-5 in 2011, finishing second in final Sun Belt standings.

It was the Toppers’ best season since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision as a full member in 2009.