Marshall lands three of top seven C-USA football honors

Cato, Hewitt, Holliday Honored by Conference USA

Updated 4 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
Cato, Hewitt, Holliday Honored by Conference USA

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall football added to its postseason accolades Wednesday, when Conference USA announced that quarterback Rakeem Cato, linebacker Neville Hewitt and Coach Doc Holliday were voted to major 2014 awards.

Cato won the C-USA Offensive Player of the Year honor for a second straight year, while Hewitt was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Holliday, who guided the Herd to its first C-USA championship and a 12-1 record and Boca Raton Bowl berth, was named the C-USA Coach of the Year.

Balloting was done by the 13 C-USA head coaches.

It is the first time since 2001 that one C-USA school won all three of those awards. Louisville quarterback Dave Ragone, defensive end Dewayne White and Coach John L. Smith won those same honors in ’01 when the Cardinals finished 11-2.

For Cato, a senior from Miami, it marks the third consecutive season for a major C-USA award. In addition to his Offensive Player honor last season, he was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2012. The four-year starter has all of the school’s career passing records, including 13,798 yards and 128 touchdowns.


This season, Cato is 242-of-414 passing for 3,622 yards, with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His passing efficiency is 155.16. He also has rushed for 457 yards and six touchdowns.


In C-USA’s 19-season football history, only Cato, Ragone, Houston quarterback Case Keenum and Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams have won three major postseason league awards.


Hewitt has played two seasons for the Herd at inside linebacker as a junior college transfer. This season, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound senior from Conyers, Ga., leads Marshall with 114 tackles (39 solo), with 12 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery and a title-clinching interception with 1:35 left in Marshall’s 26-23 C-USA Championship victory over Louisiana Tech last Saturday.


Hewitt’s honor is the third Defensive Player of the Year award for Marshall in the Herd’s 10 seasons in the conference. Defensive end Vinny Curry won it in 2011, while end Albert McClellan shared the award with Tulsa linebacker Nick Bunting in 2006.


Holliday, 57, has transformed the Herd back into a championship program, and is taking Marshall to a third bowl in the last four seasons. In his five seasons at MU, the Hurricane, W.Va., native has a 39-25 record. His 2013 Military Bowl champions went 10-4 prior to this season’s C-USA title team, which spent seven weeks in the national polls.


On Tuesday, Marshall received a C-USA-record 10 selections to the all-conference first team – including Cato and Hewitt -- and added two second teamers, five honorable mention picks and three All-Freshman selections.


Marshall has won 18 of its past 20 games as the Herd points toward a meeting with Northern Illinois (11-2) in the Boca Raton Bowl -- the only postseason game to match league champions outside the two College Football Playoff semifinals. The game is scheduled Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. (ESPN telecast) at FAU Stadium.

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