Dixie State running back Clifford Simms has been named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year, while defensive back Jaylen Moore has been named Defensive Freshman of the Year to highlight 13 All-RMAC honors for the Trailblazers.
Simms rushed for 823 yards and seven touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, the third most in DSU single-season history in both categories and the most of any DSU freshman in the NCAA Division II era. Simms rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Trailblazers past then-No. 23 ranked Colorado Mesa on Oct. 15, marking just the fourth time a DSU player has rushed for 200 yards or more in a game.
Moore appeared in all 11 games and made nine starts as a freshman, finishing the season with 44 tackles (1.5 for loss), eight pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception. Moore recorded a season-high nine tackles at Adams State on Oct. 29, and forced a fumble to preserve the DSU lead and keep the Grizzlies out of the end zone at a key moment in the second half.
Junior defensive back Tyneil Cooper and senior defensive end Keanu Foki earned the team’s only first-team honors, landing on the All-RMAC defense first team.
Cooper appeared in and started nine games in 2016, logging 33 tackles and nine pass breakups. Cooper also blocked an extra point attempt at Central Washington on Sept. 24. Foki started all 11 games as a senior, finishing the year with 45 tackles (10.5 for loss), five quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Foki set the DSU single-season sack record with 7.5 sacks this season.
Senior defensive lineman Darius Matthews earned the team’s lone second-team honor and landed on the All-RMAC defense second team. Matthews started all 11 games on the defensive line for the Trailblazers this season, logging 38 tackles (5.0 for loss), three sacks and two quarterback hurries.
Senior running back DeJon Coleman led a group of 10 Trailblazers rewarded with All-RMAC honorable mention honors, rushing for 873 yards and seven touchdowns to go with another receiving touchdown. Coleman set DSU records in career rushing (1,721 yards), career rushing touchdowns (17) and single-season rushing (873 yards) in 2016.
Nine other Dixie State players received honorable mention honors, including Simms, sophomore offensive lineman Zach Lugris (10 games/10 starts), junior offensive lineman Tim Ah Hee (11 games/11 starts), Moore, junior safety Colton Olson (70 tackles), senior defensive lineman James Lautogia (24 tackles), sophomore linebacker Peter Brown (64 tackles, one sack), junior linebacker Shiloh Pritchard (55 tackles, three sacks) and junior kickoff/punt returner Justin Martin (541 KR yards, TD, 185 PR yards).
Dixie State finished the 2016 season with a 6-5 overall record and a 6-4 mark in RMAC play, marking the first winning season of the Division II era for the Trailblazers. The 13 all-conference awards match the program record for most all-conference awards received (2009).
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].