Monmouth University running back Jaden Shirden was named Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year while a total of seven Hawks earned all-conference honors the league announced on Nov. 22.
Shirden finished the regular season with the most rushing yardage in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision at 1,722 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns. The West Haven, CT native averaged 7.8 yards per carry and a NCAA best 156.5 rushing yards per game. A home-run threat every time he touched the ball, Shirden had nine touchdown runs of 50+ yards, including a 95 yarder against Fordham. His 1,722 rushing yards are the second most in school history while his 156.5 ypg and 299 yards against Fordham set new Monmouth career marks. Shirden recorded four games of 200+ yards and had nine total contests where he eclipsed the 100-yard plateau. It was also announced on Tuesday that he is also a finalist for the Walter Payton Award.
Fellow running back Owen Wright and senior punter Ryan Kost joined Shirden on the first team, while wide receiver Dymere Miller earned second team honors. Offensive linemen Greg Anderson and Justin Szuba along with defensive back all earning third team all-league.
Wright earns First Team All-CAA honors at the fullback position after leading the CAA in touchdowns with 17, including 16 rushing scores. Wright finished with the fourth most touchdowns among all players in Division I and recorded a season-long run of 99 yards in a win over UAlbany. The short yardage specialist had five games with multiple touchdowns including a three-score effort against Fordham. Kost’s 48.1 yards per punt was tops in the NCAA with twelve 50+ yard punts this season. He booted a career-long 71-yard punt against Rhode Island.
Miller finished with seven touchdowns on 55 receptions for 820 yards en route to his first all-conference honors. The redshirt junior missed two contests with injury but still finished first in the CAA in receiving yards per game and second in receiving touchdowns by a wideout.
Anderson also picks up his first all-conference honor after starting every game on the offensive line. Szuba earns all-league for the third time in his career, also starting in every game for the Hawks this season. The duo was part of an offense that finished ranked first in the CAA in total offense and scoring offense. The Hawks scored 54 touchdowns, including 33 on the ground (most in the CAA) behind Anderson and Szuba who also led the way for the offensive player of the year in Jaden Shirden. The Hawks averaged 36.1 points per game which was 12th nationally while its 461 yards per game was 10th in the FCS.
Mike Reid was the lone member of the Monmouth defense to earn a spot on the all-league teams. The junior cornerback finished with 12 passes defended, 52 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. Reid’s 11 pass breakups were the fifth most in the NCAA.