Utah State’s Sam Merrill, BYU’s Yoeli Childs earn Senior CLASS All-America honors

Utah State guard Sam Merrill (5) dribbles the ball as Fresno State forward Nate Grimes (32) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Eli Lucero)

Sam Merrill’s heroics secured a win in the Mountain West Conference Tournament for the Utah State men’s basketball team. On Tuesday, he received an accolade not only for his athletic performance, but also his academics.

Merrill was named a Senior CLASS First-Team All-American. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award recognizes student athletes who use their platforms making a positive impact in their respective communities.

Merrill led the Aggies in scoring with 19.7 points per game, and also led them in assists with 3.9 per game. He was named MWC Tournament MVP after his game-winning shot to beat San Diego State in the championship game.

BYU senior forward Yoeli Childs was named to the All-America Second Team by CLASS despite missing nearly half of the Cougars men’s basketball games this season — he served a nine-game suspension at the start of the season and then was sidelined four games with an injury. He was still a major contributor when he was able to be on the court. And is continuing to be recognized for it.

The senior helped lead BYU to a 24-8 record and a final national ranking of No. 18. He’s already been recognized by other organizations and was named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team and earned first-team all-district honors from the NABC and USBWA.

Gonzaga forward Filip Petrusev, right, guards BYU forward Yoeli Childs (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Childs is also a Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Top 5 Finalist and was ranked No. 20 among the top 50 players in college basketball by Sports Illustrated.

In his final season, Childs averaged 22.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 57.4% from the field and 48.9% from the 3-point range. He finished his collegiate career as the school’s leader in rebounds, sixth in points and second in double-doubles.

The last Cougar to earn Senior CLASS Award honors was Tyler Haws, who also earned second-team status and 2014-15. Jimmer Fredette won the Senior CLASS Award in 2010-11.

The Senior CLASS Award winner and the All-America teams were announced Tuesday.

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