The American Athletic Conference announced their yearly awards today as judged by the 12 head coaches and South Florida Bulls tight end Mitchell Wilcox was picked as the first team tight end. Linebacker Khalid McGee was a second team selection, and cornerback Mike Hampton earned an honorable mention pick.
Wilcox had a career year in 2018, setting numerous USF tight end records including most catches in a season (40), yards (506), and the career mark in receiving yards with 942. He is six catches shy of Sean Price’s career record of 75.
While he’s an excellent receiver, Wilcox has become a force of nature as a blocker. He has helped pave the way for four different 1,000 yard rushers in just three seasons. The offense completely shut down without him in the lineup this season (second half versus ECU, all of Tulane, and most of Temple). He is a legit NFL tight end.
McGee was converted to linebacker late in 2017 and stuck there as the weakside linebacker this year and racked up over 100 tackles, becoming the 15th player all-time to register 100 tackles in a single season. He also chipped in 6.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. He set a career-high in tackles with 14 at Illinois earlier this season.
Hampton has been a pleasant surprise this season for the Bulls. The Hillsborough High School graduate led the team with 15 pass breakups and recorded 41 tackles (some bone-crushing hits as well), two interceptions, and two TFL.
Here are the other awards from the conference:
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: McKenzie Milton, QB, UCF (Jr., Kapolei, Hawaii)
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nate Harvey, DE, ECU (Sr., Knightdale, N.C.)
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Isaiah Wright, WR/KR, Temple (Jr., West Hartford, Conn.)
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati (Fr., Louisville, Ky.)
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati