Keydets Earn SoCon Honors

side-by-side photos of two football players mid-play

Photo courtesy VMI Athletics.

Eller Named SoCon Football Player of the Month

Evan Eller ’24 was named Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Month Nov. 5, 2023. Eller capped off his VMI career in a big way, helping lead VMI to a 2-1 record in November, including an upset win over No. 14 Western Carolina.

A 1st Class cadet, Eller was all over the field, totaling 29 tackles, an interception, a quarterback hurry, and a forced fumble in three contests. Eller opened the month with a four-tackle, one-quarterback-hurry performance in a 31-24 road win over Eastern Tennessee State University and followed up with 9.0 tackles at No. 2 Furman.

Eller saved perhaps his best for last with a monster 16.0 tackle performance in a win over the 14th-ranked Catamounts. Additionally, Eller had a forced fumble and registered his first career interception in the win, earning All-SoCon Weekly honors.

On Nov. 21, Eller was named to the All-SoCon First Team (media) and All-SoCon Second Team (coaches). Overall, Eller finished the season second in the league in tackles with a career-high 107, ranking 16th in the nation in that category (9.7 tackles per game).

Eller, Rice Earn Socon Players of the Week

Coming off a 27-24 upset of the No. 14 Western Carolina Catamounts, Eller and Hunter Rice ’25 were named the Southern Conference Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week Nov. 20.

The Lord Botetourt teammates played major roles in VMI’s season-ending win, as Eller had a game-high 16.0 tackles and Rice a career-high four touchdowns.

Eller capped off his Keydet career in a big way against the Catamounts and finished the season ranked second in the conference in tackles and 16th in the country in that category, amassing 235 tackles during his time in a Keydet uniform.

Much like he has been all year, Rice was an absolute force Nov. 18, rumbling for 138 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as the Keydets took down No. 14 Western Carolina. Rice punched in a 7-yarder to get VMI on the board in the second quarter, but the second half is when he took over, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 63-yard scamper up the middle. Rice’s fourth touchdown of the day, which gives him a league-best 14 on the season, proved to be the difference maker as VMI held on for a three-point win (27-24). Rice’s 14 touchdowns on the ground currently rank fourth in all of FCS football.

Editor’s Note: These articles were first published at