By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With just over two weeks remaining before the Tennessee Tech football team kicks off its 2021 campaign, the Golden Eagles saw several players earn selections to Phil Steele's All-Ohio Valley Conference team on Monday.
Senior defensive lineman Chris Tucker was on the first team, while junior defensive back Josh Reliford earned a spot on the second squad. Sophomore quarterback Willie Miller, senior offensive lineman Kurt Huff, junior offensive lineman Spencer Stachyra, senior defensive lineman Jale'n Gladney and junior linebacker Seth Carlisle picked up nods on the third team.
Tucker finished the Spring 2021 season with his second-straight appearance on the all-OVC first team, ending the year with 34 total tackles -- 16 solo, 18 assisted -- with a team-high 7.0 for-loss for 31 yards, including 3.5 sacks for 18 yards. He also had two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble, while recording a season-high seven tackles twice against Austin Peay (2/21/21) and Eastern Illinois (3/21/21).
Reliford finished fourth in Tech's defensive charts with 41 total tackles -- 17 solo and 24 assisted -- with one tackle for loss for one yard. He led the team in interceptions with two for 24 yards, while he had five pass breakups. Reliford made a career-high 11 tackles -- five solo, six assisted -- against Murray State (3/14/21).
Miller had a breakout season in Spring 2021, ending the short campaign as the team leader in passing and second in rushing. He completed 80 of his 149 passes for 879 yards with five touchdown passes along with eight interceptions, averaging 125.6 yards per game. He also rushed for 243 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries. Miller threw for a career-high 213 yards on 17-of-29 passing against Murray State, then had 211 yards on 21-of-44 passing against UT Martin (4/11/21). He threw a career-high two touchdowns at Southeast Missouri (3/28/21), while he rushed for a career-high 103 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries vs. Murray State.
Gladney recorded 21 total tackles -- six solo and 15 assisted -- with four for-loss for five yards and two QB hurries. He recorded a career-high six tackles in the finale against UT Martin.
Carlisle led Tech in tackles with 50 total stops -- 23 solo and 27 assisted -- as he started all seven games and averaged 7.1 tackles per appearance. He also recorded 1.5 tackles-for-loss for two yards, recovered two fumbles, intercepted a pass and broke up three passes. Carlisle collected a season-high 11 tackles in the season opener against Austin Peay to earn OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors as well as an honorable mention for National Defensive Player of the Week from STATS Perform. The following week, he had nine tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception at Jacksonville State (2/28/21).
Huff started all seven games, Stachyra six for an offensive front that rolled up 797 rushing yards last season with nine touchdowns, while providing the passing attack enough time to complete 118 of 211 passes for 1,263 yards and seven scores.
The Golden Eagles continue camp work this week, culminating in Saturday's Gathering of Eagles at Tucker Stadium. Tech opens the season on Sept. 2 at Samford.
Tickets are on sale now – call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com to order.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information