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Hilton, Griffin All-Sun Belt First Team; Rhodes, defense put on Second Team; practice report

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and kicker Jack Griffin were FIU's only two players on the All-Sun Belt First Team, announced Wednesday morning.

Hilton, a First Team wide receiver, kick returner and all-purpose runner, caught 64 passes for 950 yards and seven touchdowns; ran 16 times for 101 yards; returned averaged 32.0 yards on 16 kickoff returns; averaged 23.25 yards per return on his eight returns, boosted by his 97-yard touchdown return against FAU, the second longest in Sun Belt history.

Griffin went 21 of 25 on field goals and was perfect on 35 extra point attempts.

Despite getting 1,121 yards and averaging 5.0 yards per carry, running back Kedrick Rhodes lost out on First Team honors to Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey and North Texas' Lance Dunbar. Rainey, who won the Offensive Player of the Year award, was an obvious call. Voting closed Monday and going into Saturday's season finale against Middle Tennessee State, Dunbar was under 900 yards rushing and averaging 3.5 per carry for the season. Then, he marched over Tennessee for a Sun Belt-record 313 yards on 40 carries. Garbage time yards clearly didn't hurt for a guy with over 4,200 yards rushing in his career.

FIU's defense finished in the Sun Belt's top three in every category, and really sat on teams late in the season -- one touchdown each allowed to Troy, Western Kentucky, FAU and Louisiana-Monroe -- but didn't have a defender voted to the First Team. Junior defensive end Tourek Williams, redshirt junior middle linebacker Winston Fraser and junior safety Jonathan Cyprien were giving Second Team honors.

"It's disappointing," FIU coach Mario Cristobal said.

Left tackle Caylin Hauptmann received a Second Team nod.

Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin received the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Rainey was the Offensive Player of the Year. Arkansas State defensive lineman Brandon Joiner was the Defensive Player of the Year.

At practice, Cristobal said Rhodes, who sprained an ankle in the season finale, took some reps and should be fine for the bowl game. Jake Medlock threw the ball some, but the coach said he and Wesley Carroll would battle it out next week for the bowl game start.


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