Return Man Purvis Leads MW Honorees
Dec. 6, 2011
LAS VEGAS - Senior Deante' Purvis became the first UNLV football kick returner since 2003 to earn All-Mountain West honors when he was named second team as the conference announced its official postseason awards Tuesday.
Purvis, out of Pinole, Calif., finished as the leader in school and conference history with 112 returns for 2,626 yards. He took back 41 attempts this year for exactly 1,000 yards. His average of 24.30 yards per return ranked 46th nationally. Purvis was named Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week on October 31 after he averaged 40 yards on five returns, including a 98-yard touchdown that helped swing the momentum in his team's favor in a victory over Colorado State. The last Rebel kick returner to be honored was Tremayne Kirkland eight years ago.
A quartet of Rebels earned honorable mention this year: senior defensive lineman James Dunlap (Pasadena, Calif.), sophomore defensive back Sidney Hodge (Las Vegas) and freshman offensive linemen Brett Boyko (Saskatoon, Sask.) and Robert Waterman (Castaic, Calif).
Dunlap, who started every game at end, ranked second in the MW and 37th in the nation with 14.5 tackles for loss, including 6.5 quarterback sacks. The former junior-college transfer also tied for sixth in the league with three forced fumbles to go with his 47 total tackles.
Hodge led the MW and tied for fourth in the nation with four fumble recoveries. The cornerback also tied for fourth in the league with eight passes defended to go with his 53 total tackles, which ranked 41st.
Boyko was a rare freshman starter at left tackle while Waterman also played every game at center. The duo helped UNLV rush for 164.1 yards per game in 2011, which ranked 56th in the nation a year after ranking 109th in that category. In fact, the rushing average was the highest for the program since going for 214.0 a game on the ground in 2002 and the Rebels featured two running backs with three 100-yard rushing games apiece this fall.
2011 Mountain West Awards Offensive Player of the Year Kellen Moore, Sr., QB, Boise State