Jones, McCaskill highlighted league recognition
HOUSTON – Houston Football’s Marcus Jones has been named American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and Alton McCaskill has been tabbed the league’s rookie of the year, highlighting all-conference accolades, announced Wednesday.
Jones is the third Cougar to receive the honor, joining wide receiver/kick returner Demarcus Ayers (2013) and punter Dane Roy (2019). The Enterprise, Alabama, native is the only player nationally with multiple punt return touchdowns and kick return touchdowns on the season.
McCaskill is also the third Cougar to be named rookie of the year and first since defensive tackle Ed Oliver in 2016. The Conroe, Texas, native leads all true freshmen nationally with 16 rushing touchdowns – a mark that ranks second for all players in program history.
Six Houston student-athletes earned first-team all-conference recognition including wide receiver Nathaniel Dell, offensive tackle Patrick Paul, defensive lineman David Anenih, defensive lineman Logan Hall, safety Gervarrius Owens and Jones at return specialist.
Houston’s six first-team all-conference honorees marked the most for the program since joining The American and were the most first-team all-conference honorees for the Cougars since having as many in 2011 as a member of Conference USA.
Five Cougars earned second-team honors including center Kody Russey, McCaskill, defensive lineman Derek Parish, linebacker Donavan Mutin and Jones at cornerback. Punter Laine Wilkins was also recognized as all-conference honorable mention.
Houston’s 12 total honorees marked the most for the program since 2015 (12). That season, the Cougars won the inaugural American Championship Game, defeating Temple, 24-13 at TDECU Stadium.
The 2021 Cougars posted an 8-0 mark in American play, marking the second undefeated conference season in program history (2011). Houston’s current 11-game win streak overall in the third longest active streak nationally.
The No. 16/16 Cougars (11-1, 8-0 AAC) visit No. 4/3 Cincinnati (12-0, 8-0 AAC) for The American Championship at 3 p.m. CT Saturday. The contest can be seen on ABC and heard on KPRC 950 AM. The Cougars are looking for their 12th conference title and second as a member of The American.
2021 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL AWARDS
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati *
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Marcus Jones, KR/PR, Houston
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Alton McCaskill, RB, Houston
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
COURTESY HOUSTON ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS