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Corley headlines WKU Football’s conference honors

Wide+receiver+Malachi+Corley+smiles+after+his+touchdown+during+a+game+against+Sam+Houston+State+University+at+L.T+Smith+Stadium+in+Bowling+Green+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+18%2C+2023.
Dominic Di Palermo
Wide receiver Malachi Corley smiles after his touchdown during a game against Sam Houston State University at L.T Smith Stadium in Bowling Green on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

Conference USA coaches voted on the All-Conference teams Tuesday, including a first team selection for Junior wide receiver Malachi Corley. 

Corley was named to CUSA’s All-Conference First Team Offense after his outstanding year.  The 5’11, 210-pounder racked up 958 yards receiving on 75 receptions and a conference-leading 11 touchdown grabs.  Those 75 catches helped him break the WKU program record for career receptions, with his total standing at 255. He also ranks second in WKU history with 29 touchdown receptions and third in receiving yards with 3,007. 

Senior quarterback Austin Reed and junior offensive lineman Vincent Murphy were given C-USA All-Conference honorable mention honors.  They were joined by freshman returner Easton Messer, freshman kicker Lucas Carneiro, and freshman long snapper Trey Naughton. 

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On defense, WKU took home three selections on the All-Conference Second Team. Sophomore defensive tackle Hosea Wheeler, junior defensive back Kendrick Simpkins, and junior defensive back Anthony Johnson, Jr were all selected to the squad.  

Wheeler, a transfer from Sacramento City College, posted 40 tackles, 2.5 being for loss and two sacks.  He also recorded a forced fumble and an interception, which both came in the team’s game against then No. 4 Ohio State 

Simpkins was WKU’s starting safety for the majority of the season.  He led all FBS defensive backs in sacks with 6.5 and had 46 tackles, including 10 for a loss.  He also forced four fumbles and recorded eight quarterback hurries. 

After transferring from Division II West Florida, Johnson finished the regular season with 36 tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick.  He ranks fourth in the conference in passes defended and third in interceptions. 

Representing WKU on the C-USA All-Freshman Team on offense were receivers K.D. Hutchinson, Moussa Barry, and Messer, tight end Noah Meyers and offensive lineman Evan Wibberley.  On defense, the selections were defensive end Deante McCray, linebackers Koron Hayward and Reginald Allen, Jr. and defensive backs Alex Ford and Nazir Ward. 

The team will conclude the 2023 season on Dec. 18 against Old Dominion in the Famous Toastery Bowl at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The game will be on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. CT. 

Sports reporter Michael Givner Jr. can be reached at [email protected]

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