MTSU's Blankenship, Brooks named preseason All-CUSA

MTSU junior safety Reid Blankenship and linebacer Khalil Brooks were named preseason first-team All-Conference USA selections on Monday. MTSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

MTSU's Reid Blankenship and Khalil Brooks were named to the first-team All-Conference USA preseason squad as selected by the league's coaches on Monday.

As a sophomore safety last season, Blankenship was named the Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week October. He had 17 tackles (nine solo and three for losses) and added a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in a victory over Old Dominion.

He also earned first-team All-CUSA honors last season as he led MTSU with 107 tackles, including eight for losses, four interceptions and seven pass deflections.

The Athens, Alabama, native also was named to the Bednarik Watch list on Monday as well.

Brooks, a senior linebacker, has been second-team All-CUSA the past two seasons. He had 68 tackles, including 14 1/2 for losses last season.

The duo is expected to lead a defense that returns six starters from a team that allowed 26 points a game last season.

MTSU opens the season Aug. 31 at Big Ten and top five foe Michigan.

The following is the All-CUSA preseason team:


Offensive Player of the Year

Mason Fine, Sr., QB, North Texas

Defensive Player of the Year

Sage Lewis, Sr., LB, FIU

Special Teams Players of the Year

Jonathan Cruz, So., K, Charlotte


QB Mason Fine, Sr., North Texas

RB Spencer Brown, Jr., UAB

RB Benny LeMay, Sr., Charlotte

OL Levi Brown, Sr., Marshall

OL Josh Dunlop, Sr., UTSA

OL Derron Gatewood, Sr., UTEP

OL Sosaia Mose, Sr., North Texas

OL Miles Pate, Sr., WKU

TE Harrison Bryant, Sr., Florida Atlantic

WR Rico Bussey, Jr., Sr., North Texas

WR Adrian Hardy, Jr., Louisiana Tech

WR Quez Watkins, Jr., Southern Miss


DL Channing Hames, Sr., Marshall

DL LaDarius Hamilton, Sr., North Texas

DL Alex Highsmith, Sr., Charlotte

DL Garrett Marino, Sr., UAB

DL DeMarrio Smith, Sr., Southern Miss

DL Jacques Turner, Jr., Southern Miss

LB Khalil Brooks, Sr., Middle Tennessee

LB Sage Lewis, Sr., FIU

LB Racheem Boothe, Jr., Southern Miss

DB Reed Blankenship, Jr., Middle Tennessee

DB Ky'el Hemby, Jr., Southern Miss

DB Amik Robertson, Jr., Louisiana Tech

DB Chris Jackson, Sr., Marshall

Special Teams

K Jonathan Cruz, So., Charlotte

P Alvin Kenworthy, Sr., North Texas

KR Brett Winnegan, Sr., UTSA

PR Maurice Alexander, Sr., FIU

LS Matt Beardall, Sr., Marshall

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