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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen, who threw for 27 touch- downs and averaged 264.3 yards passing per game, was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year on Thursday. - Photo by Thomas Metthe

Arkansas State University reeled in 17 All-Sun Belt Conference awards Thursday and became the conference's first program ever to have different players earn four of the league's five major individual honors.

Senior quarterback Justice Hansen was named the Sun Belt's Player of the Year. Senior defensive end Ronheen Bingham (Defensive Player of the Year), junior wide receiver Kirk Merritt (Newcomer of the Year) and freshman running back Marcel Murray (Freshman of the Year) also given postseason awards Thursday.

ASU Sun Belt honors

PLAYER OF THE YEAR Justice Hansen (Sr., QB)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Ronheen Bingham (Sr., DE)

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR Kirk Merritt (Jr., WR)

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR Marcel Murray (Fr., RB)

FIRST-TEAM ALL-SUN BELT Justice Hansen (Sr., QB), Kirk Merritt (Jr., WR), Lanard Bonner (Sr., OL), Ronheen Bingham (Sr., DE), Justin Clifton (Sr., DB)

SECOND-TEAM ALL-SUN BELT Justin McInnis (Sr., WR), Javonis Isaac (So., TE), William Bradley-King (So., DE), Forrest Merrill (Jr., DL), Jerry Jacobs (So., CB), Cody Grace (Jr., P)

THIRD-TEAM ALL-SUN BELT Marcel Murray (Fr., RB), Darreon Jackson (Jr., S)

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-SUN BELT Omar Bayless (Jr., WR), Jacob Still (So., C), Kevin Thurmon (Jr., DL), Warren Wand (Sr., RB)

In a vote by the Sun Belt's head coaches and selected media, Appalachian State sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas and Coach Scott Satterfield were named Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.

Hansen, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, led the conference in total offense per game (297.3 yards), passing yards per game (264.3), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202).

Bingham, who along with Hansen and Merritt is an All-Sun Belt First Team selection, was No. 1 in the Sun Belt in sacks (9.0). Bingham also leads all players in tackles for loss (18.5).

Murray, a true freshman, is the only freshman on offense or defense ranked inside of the top 10 in multiple statistical categories. Murray is fourth in rushing yards per carry (5.8) among players with at least 100 carries and tied for eighth in rushing yards per game (66.1).

Then there's Kirk Merritt, ASU's first-year receiver who became Hansen's most-used target in any of his three seasons as the Red Wolves' quarterback.

Merritt's 75 catches are the fourth-most in school history. His 6.2 receptions per game and 78.2 receiving yards per game both led all Sun Belt receivers.

ASU had five players named to the Sun Belt's first team, six to the second team, two to the third team and had four honorable mention honorees.

ASU's 17 total selections were the second-most in school history, trailing the 18 in 2017. The Red Wolves have had at least 10 selections in nine consecutive seasons.

Sports on 11/30/2018

Print Headline: Red Wolves rack up on Sun Belt awards

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