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Five UNH football players honored by CAA

November 22. 2017 1:17AM

Neil O’Connor was named to the CAA football first team offense to highlight a total of five players from the University of New Hampshire football team who were honored by the conference on Tuesday.

Jake Kennedy, of Amherst, was voted to the second team offense while Quinlenn Dean and Rick Holt, of Portsmouth, were second team defense selections. Trevor Knight, of Amherst, was a third team offense honoree and Prince Smith, Jr. was named third team defense.

UNH hosts Central Connecticut State University in the NCAA Division I FCS Championship opening round on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.

O’Connor, who has been named a Walter Payton Award finalist, is UNH’s leader in receptions (87), receiving yards (1,291), receiving touchdowns (10) and all-purpose yards (1,405). The junior wide receiver ranks in the top 15 in the nation in five statistics: No. 3 in receiving yards, No. 4 in receiving yards per game (117.4), No. 5 in receptions per game (7.9), No. 13 in receiving TDs and No. 15 in all-purpose yards per game (127.73).

O’Connor is atop the CAA leaderboard in both receiving yards/game and receptions/game; he ranks second in all-purpose yards/game and fourth in scoring (5.5 points/game).

Kennedy started all 11 regular-season games and anchored the offensive line as a senior center. He helped pave the way for a Wildcat offense that averaged 23.6 points and 374.5 yards per game.

Dean leads UNH in unassisted tackles (66), assisted tackles (35) and total tackles (101); in fact, his 66 solo tackles are more than all other Wildcats have total tackles.

Holt ranks second on the team in total tackles (60); the senior defensive lineman is tied for the lead in sacks (5.5) and is tied for second in tackles for loss (8.5).

Knight, a two-time CAA Offensive Player of the Week in 2017, is 239-for-381 (63 percent) for 2,851 yards and 23 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 142.36 passer efficiency rating. The junior quarterback ranks second in rushes (122) and third in rushing yards (125) with one rushing TD.

Smith, Jr, the 2016 CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year, played all 11 regular-season games and was in the starting lineup 10 times, including each of the last six. The sophomore cornerback is tied for the team lead in pass breakups (eight) and also has 48 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble.