News & Analysis

Anthony Johnson hauls in first-team honors on PFF's 2018 All-MAC selections

By Cam Mellor
Dec 4, 2018

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Nov 30, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bulls wide receiver Anthony Johnson (83) during the second half against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 regular season is in the books and the College Football Playoffs are set. With the culmination of the regular season comes PFF’s awards and all-conference selections as well as our All-American lists for both the first and second team.

The All-conference selections have been made by each of PFF’s leading conference analyst based mainly on PFF’s play-by-play grading process for the entire season as well as cumulative grades, game grades against quality opposition, other PFF advanced statistics and playing time.

The All-MAC selections below are headlined by the first team with the second team listed below each position.

For all other all-conference teams: ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | AAC | C-USA | MWC | MAC | Sun Belt

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Quarterback

First Team: Nathan Rourke, Ohio

Rourke led the conference in overall grade at the position by over 10.0 points as he was a true threat with both his arm and his legs.

Second Team: Eli Peters, Toledo

Running Back

First Team: A.J. Ouellette, Ohio

Forcing a conference-best 39 missed tackles on carries, Ouellette bruised his way to a healthy average of 6.2 yards per carry and 3.67 yards after contact per attempt in 2018.

Second Team: Jo-El Shaw, Kent State

Running Back

First Team: Alonzo Smith, Miami (Oh.)

Smith recorded 35 combined first-down and touchdown runs in 2018 while his 4.03 average yards after contact per carry ranked him second in the MAC.

Second Team: Jaret Patterson, Buffalo

Wide Receiver

First Team: Anthony Johnson, Buffalo

Johnson may hear his name called early in the 2019 NFL Draft after he put up another monster year for the Bulls. He averaged 5.1 yards after the catch per reception and forced 12 missed tackles, proving he’s not just a contested-catch receiver and can do it all.

Second Team: Jayden Reed, Western Michigan

Wide Receiver

First Team: Scott Miller, Bowling Green

Miller was the conference’s most targeted receiver, seeing 107 passes come his way. He turned those into a conference-best 1,137 yards and 41 first-down receptions.

Second Team: D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan

Wide Receiver

First Team: Papi White, Ohio

A true threat with the ball in his hands, White gained 350 yards after the catch this season and forced eight missed tackles.

Second Team: Blake Banham, Eastern Michigan

Tight End

First Team: Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan

Only four MAC tight ends saw more than 20 targeted passes and Ricci led them all in every major statistical category as well as overall grade.

Second Team: Tyler Mabry, Buffalo

Offensive Tackle

First Team: Joe Lowery, Ohio

A Second-Team All-American, Lowery was impressive this season for the Bobcats. He allowed just nine pressures on 334 pass-blocking snaps while his 85.3 run-blocking grade was 7.2 points higher than the next closest tackle.

Second Team: Kayode Awosika, Buffalo

Offensive Guard

First Team: Joe Anderson, Ohio

A fellow standout on the Ohio offensive line, Anderson allowed just eight pressures on 348 snaps in pass protection.

Second Team: Mike Caliendo, Western Michigan

Center

First Team: James O’Hagan, Buffalo

An honorable mention on our All-American team, O’Hagan anchored a Buffalo offensive line all season long as he allowed just four pressures on a whopping 446 pass-blocking snaps.

Second Team: Bryce Harris, Toledo

Offensive Guard

First Team: Paul Nosworthy, Buffalo

The MAC’s most impressive run-blocking guard, Nosworthy’s 75.7 grade was nearly 5.0 points higher than the next closest guard.

Second Team: Luke Juriga, Western Michigan

Offensive Tackle

First Team: Max Scharping, Northern Illinois

A proven pass protector, Scharping allowed all of eight pressures this season, on 469 pass-blocking snaps and his 92.2 pass-blocking grade stood out among the MAC’s tackles.

Second Team: Danny Pinter, Ball State

DEFENSE

Edge Defender

First Team: Mike Danna, Central Michigan

Danna may not be as flashy as others on this list, or even in his conference, but he constantly changed games for the Chippewas this season. He recorded 54 total QB pressures and 53 total tackles while missing only four attempts this year.

Second Team: Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan

Edge Defender

First Team: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois

A year after setting the PFF College record for pressures in a season, the secret was out on Smith as he was regularly schemed against and double-teamed in 2018. He still recorded 63 total pressures that included a national-best 15 sacks and 11 QB hits as well as 37 additional hurries.

Second Team: Will Evans, Ohio

Defensive Interior

First Team: Reggie Howard, Toledo

Howard was the most dominant interior force in the MAC this season, leading the way with 33 defensive stops and seven sacks.

Second Team: Ben LeRoy, Northern Illinois

Defensive Interior

First Team: Doug Costin, Miami (Oh.)

A fixture on the MAC Teams of the Week, Costin regularly dominated games and finished with the conference lead in total QB pressures (32) among his position.

Second Team: Kalil Morris, Kent State

Linebacker

First Team: Brad Koenig, Miami (Oh.)

A Second-Team All-American at our Flex Defense spot, Koenig played Miami’s hybrid-type linebacker position admirably, recording 22 QB pressures on just 67 blitzes and three interceptions on 28 targeted passes in coverage.

Second Team: Khalil Hodge, Buffalo

Linebacker

First Team: John Lako, Akron

Lako was an Honorable Mention on our All-American team, finishing the season with the sixth-highest grade in the nation at linebacker.

Second Team: Malik Fountain, Central Michigan

Cornerback

First Team: Xavier Crawford, Central Michigan

Transferring from Oregon State, Crawford had a career year with the Chippewas, recording a career-best in catch rate allowed (41.0%) and passer rating when targeted (56.6).

Second Team: Zedrick Raymond, Miami (Oh.)

Cornerback

First Team: Ka’dar Hollman, Toledo

Hollman was targeted a whopping 68 times in coverage this season, yet he allowed just 32 receptions and only 136 yards after the catch.

Second Team: Kyron Brown, Akron

Safety

First Team: Alvin Davis, Akron

Davis allowed just 12 receptions in coverage while he racked up half as many plays on the ball himself with four interceptions and two more pass breakups.

Second Team: Javon Hagan, Ohio

Safety

First Team: Vince Calhoun, Eastern Michigan

Calhoun’s 37.8 passer rating when targeted was the best among MAC safeties who were targeted at least 23 times in coverage.

Second Team: Brody Hoying, Eastern Michigan

Flex Defense

First Team: Jalen Embry, Northern Illinois

Embry finished tied for fourth in the MAC with seven pass breakups while he limited receivers to the third-lowest catch percentage among qualified cornerbacks.

Second Team: Cameron Lewis, Buffalo

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

First Team: Morgan Hagee, Ball State

Hagee was a perfect 35-of-35 on extra points this season while he drilled his lone field goal attempt from 50-plus yards as well.

Second Team: Louie Zervos, Ohio

Punter

First Team: Matt Ference, Northern Illinois

Ference averaged the conference’s second-highest hangtime at 3.92 seconds, giving his coverage team the chance to limit returners to just 5.4 yards per return that was the best among MAC punters with at least 12 punts returned.

Second Team: Kyle Kramer, Miami (Oh.)

Kick Returner

First Team: Diontae Johnson, Toledo

Johnson was the conference’s highest-graded kick returner, averaging 25.7 yards per return, forcing multiple missed tackles.

Second Team: Maurice Thomas, Miami (Oh.)

Punt Returner

First Team: Jayden Reed, Western Michigan

The true freshman stood out this season, not only on the receiving side of things. He averaged 18.2 yards per punt return and secured all punt return attempts without a single muff punt.

Second Team: K.J. Osborn, Buffalo

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