HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Golden Eagle football seniors Deron Wilson and Khyri Thornton added another pre-season award to their docket on Thursday when they were named to the Athlon Sports 2013 Pre-Season All-Conference USA First Team Defensive squad.
Thornton and Wilson were also named to the Phil Steele's 2013 Preseason All-C-USA first time in late May.
Wilson and Thornton enter the 2013 campaign as two of C-USA's premier defenders and will reunite with defensive coordinator David Duggan, who led the Nasty Bunch defense to top marks in C-USA during their 2011 C-USA championship, as he returns to `The Rock' with first-year head coach Todd Monken.
The New Orleans, La., native Wilson has started every game of his Golden Eagle career, a span of 38 games, dating back to his redshirt freshman season in 2010. In that span, he has become one of the league's top shutdown corners and is second all-time in pass breakups in school history. He also enters 2013 as the team's active career leader in interceptions with eight and has returned three of those for touchdowns, which currently ranks sixth among the NCAA's active career leaders in that category.
Thornton, a senior run stopper from Panama City, Fla., tallied a career-high 36 tackles from his interior position last season and has 39 games under his belt heading into 2013. His 9.5 tackles for loss in 2012 were second-most on the team behind former teammate and the first pick for the NFL's New England Patriots, Jamie Collins.
The Golden Eagles were one of just four teams, along with Rice, East Carolina and Tulsa, to have multiple members on the first-team defensive squad. Complete listings of both the first and second teams can be found at AthlonSports.com.
Southern Miss and Monken begin their 2013 campaign inside the confines of Roberts Stadium, Aug. 31, when they host Texas State. Kick-off for that game is set for 6 p.m.