Eight VMI football cadet-athletes were tabbed to 2019 Southern Conference postseason recognition teams, the league office announced Nov. 26, 2019, from its office in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The all-conference team as voted by the league coaches selected running back Alex Ramsey ’20 and wide receiver Jakob Herres ’22 to the first team offense, while defensive back A.J. Smith ’21 was picked first team defense. Quarterback Reece Udinski ’21 was voted second team offense by the coaches.
The All-SoCon team as selected by league media duplicated the coaches’ team with Ramsey, Herres, Smith and Udinski all voted to the same all-conference spots. The all-conference media team also voted offensive lineman Josh Andre ’20 and defensive lineman Jarrod Richmond ’19 to second team honors.
Freshmen wide receiver Leroy Thomas ’23 and defensive back Aljareek Malry ’23 were both voted to the Southern Conference All-Freshman teams as selected by league coaches.
Ramsey, a redshirt junior from Salem, Virginia, led the SoCon in rushing with 1,322 yards which stands as the fourth best single season rushing total by a Keydet in program history. Ramsey also set a new VMI single season record with 22 rushing touchdowns and compiled 1,657 total offense yards which stands as the sixth best in program history. Ramsey was named as a finalist for the STATS FCS 33rd Walter Payton Award which honors the top offensive player in FCS.
Herres, a sophomore from Easton, Pennsylvania, closed out the 2019 campaign with seven catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns against Chattanooga which earned him SoCon offensive player of the week honors. He had five games of 100+ yards receiving and led the SoCon in receiving yards/game (90.9) and receptions/game (6.0).
Smith, a junior from Virginia Beach, led the team in interceptions with three and was credited with 67 tackles and four passes broken up in 2019. It was his second all-conference team honor as he was named 2018 All-SoCon second team by the media. The mechanical engineering major was also announced as a Google Cloud Academic All-District 3 honoree for the second straight year after being named to the Academic All-America second team in 2018.
Udinski, a junior from North Wales, Pennsylvania, compiled record setting numbers directing VMI’s “air raid” offense for the second straight year. He led the SoCon in passing and broke his own VMI single season passing record with 3,276 yards. His 19 touchdown passes were the second most in school history and he began the season with an FCS record 368 consecutive passes without an interception. Udinski also set new VMI single season records for total offense (3,155 yards) and best pass completion (63.9%) and tossed for 200 or more yards in 11 games in 2019, also a new school single season record.
Andre, a redshirt junior from Warrenton, Virginia, anchored the offensive line as a returning starter making 11 starts at right guard and helped revitalize the running game behind Ramsey in 2019.
Richmond, a redshirt senior from Bluefield, Virginia, made 12 starts at defensive end and was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week after the Nov. 23 win over Chattanooga when he returned a fumble 64 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Richmond finished second on the team in tackles with 70 stops and had five tackles-for-loss for 24 yards and recovered a team leading three fumbles.
Thomas, from Roanoke, Virginia, broke into the starting receiving corps at midseason and was second on the team in receptions with 54 (second in SoCon -5.4/game) and third in receiving yards with 594. He caught three touchdown passes on the year including one against Wofford Sept. 28 when he had a season-high 10 catches and 123 yards.
Malry, from Lanham, Maryland, started the season on specials teams and reserve secondary before being pressed into service as a starter late in the season when injuries mounted on the defensive unit. He started four games and finished the season with 62 tackles – the fifth most on the VMI defensive charts.
For a complete listing of all-conference teams, go to www.soconsports.com.