Eight USD players earn all-MVFC recognition

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VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota wide receiver Caleb Vander Esch, linebacker Brock Mogensen, punter Brady Schutt and long snapper Dalton Godfrey were named to the all-Missouri Valley Football Conference Team as voted on by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media and announced Thursday.

In addition, defensive lineman Jacob Matthew, linebacker Jack Cochrane, cornerback Myles Harden and tight end Brett Samson received honorable mention. South Dakota played in just four games this spring due to cancellations posed by COVID-19, but these eight Coyotes were standouts nonetheless.

Vander Esch and Schutt have earned all-Valley honors for the second consecutive season. Mogensen and Godfrey are first-time honorees. All four earned second-team honors. South Dakota has had at least three all-Valley picks in each of the last five seasons.

Vander Esch is a fifth-year senior from San Jose, California, who led the Coyotes with 23 catches for 273 yards and hauled in a touchdown. He ranked fourth in the Valley in both catches and yards per game. He totaled nine catches for a season-high 102 yards in the final game of the season at Youngstown State.

Mogensen is a redshirt sophomore from Farmington, Minnesota, who was the team’s leading tackler with 38. Included in that count are a sack and two other tackles for loss. He ranked second in the conference in tackles per game. Mogensen also notched his first collegiate interception this season.

Schutt is a fifth-year senior from Orange City, Iowa. He was a first-team pick a year ago, a preseason all-American this year, and would be a first-team choice in any other conference. His credentials are top-notch. Schutt has the third-best average in the nation – a career-best 46.0-yard average – and he leads the nation’s top-ranked punting unit with a net of 43.7. The only other punter with credentials in that ballpark happens to play in the Valley in North Dakota State’s Garret Wegner.

Godfrey has served as long snapper on punts and kicks for each of the last three seasons. He is a redshirt-junior from Cedar Falls, Iowa. In addition to aiding the nation’s top-ranked punt team, he was part of a kick team that made 5-of-8 field goals and all eight extra points. He was also credited with a special teams tackle on five returns opportunities.

Matthew is a fifth-year senior from Omaha, Nebraska. He was the Coyotes’ leader in tackles-for-loss (3.5) and sacks (1.5). Matthew also finished with the fourth-most tackles overall with 28. Only one player in the country recovered more fumbles than the two he scooped up, and he had a career-high 10 tackles including a sack and 2.5 for loss in the team’s upset at Illinois State.

Cochrane is a true senior from Mount Vernon, Iowa. He was a preseason all-American and remains the Coyotes’ active leader in tackles with 224. He posted 28 tackles, including 16 solo stops, in four games this season. Cochrane was also credited with a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.

Harden is a true freshman from Miami Gardens, Florida, who led the Valley and ranked second nationally in passes defended. He introduced himself to the college game by intercepting two passes in leading USD to an upset at Illinois State in the season opener. He totaled seven pass breakups in four games and finished with 16 tackles, all of four of which were solo stops.

Samson is a fifth-year senior from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He is the Coyotes’ active leader in touchdown receptions with 10. He caught six passes for 47 yards in four games this season, while also aiding the Coyotes on the ground and in pass protection.

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