CLEVELAND -- A total of 45 repeat selections from last years All-MAC team and the first defensive player in history to be honored with back-to-back Vern Smith Leadership Award honors highlights this years post season awards in the Mid-American Conference.
BSU QB Davis was named offensive player of the year
Northern Illinois University defensive end Larry English, a senior from Aurora, Ill., was tabbed as the winner of the 27th annual Vern Smith Leadership Award, the fourth time a Huskie has been honored. English, also the 2007 honoree, joins NIU quarterback Tim Tyrrell (1983) and running back Garrett Wolfe (2006) in the select company. He is the fourth overall to capture back-to-back honors with the other three all quarterbacks - Bowling Greens Brian McClure in 1984 and 1985, BGs Erik White in 1991 and 1992, and Marshalls Byron Leftwich in 2001 and 2002. The MACs highest football honor is voted on by league head coaches.
English, who was also honored as the leagues Defensive Player of the Year, anchored a Huskies squad that led the MAC in total defense, allowing 303.7 yards per game, which is 40 yards better than the No.2 rated defensive team. English tied for second in the MAC with 13.5 tackles for a loss and third in sacks with 8.0. The Huskies won four more games this year than in 2007, finishing with a bowl-eligible 6-6 record. Four of the Huskies six losses were by four points or fewer.
In other awards voted by the MAC News Media Association, Ball State was recognized with Coach of the Year in Brady Hoke, Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Nate Davis, and Freshman of the Year in defensive back Sean Baker. The Special Teams Player of the Year Award went to Antonio Brown of Central Michigan.
Hoke, in his sixth seaon as head coach at his alma mater, directed the Cardinals to the best season in school history. Ball State went 12-0 and won the MAC West Division to advance to the MAC Football Championship game Friday, Dec. 5 versus East Division opponent Buffalo.
The Cardinals 12-0 regular season is the leagues best since Marshall went 11-0 in 1999. The Cardinals captured their first win ever over a Big Ten foe when they won at Indiana, and they also beat bowl-bound Navy.
Davis, a junior from Bellaire, Ohio, led the MAC in passing efficiency for the third consecutive season. He completed a league-high 66.7 percent (218-of-324) of his attempts for 3,095 yards, 25 touchdowns with six interceptions. He guided the Cardinals to a MAC leading 37.7 points per game. Davis also rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He is the younger brother of Jose Davis, who while at Kent State set the MAC single-game record for passing yards with 551 in 1997 versus UCF.
|NIU DE Larry English
Baker, a graduate of Canfield High School in Canfield, Ohio, stepped onto the scene by tying for the league-lead in interceptions with six, including three in one game (vs. Akron). He was a key part of the Cardinals defense the led the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 16.7 points per game. Baker had a fumble returned for a touchdown at Akron and the next week ran back an interception for a score at Indiana. He had 90 total tackles, 42 solos, and 10 pass break ups for a MAC-leading 16 passes defended.
Brown, a sophomore from Miami, Fla., followed up his 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year honor by leading the nation in punt returns at 20.67 yards per return and contributing 21.1 yards per return on 34 kickoffs. For good measure, he finished among the MACs top receivers with 82 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns. Brown was a first-team selection at both the kickoff return and punt return position this year.
Among the most interesting all-conference selections was Akron strong safety Bryan Williams. A third team selection as a defensive back this year, Williams was a third-team honoree as a running back in 2007. In addition, second-year MAC member Temple had its first-ever, first-team selection in defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.
Ball State and Central Michigan each had seven first-team selections.
Overall, Ball State set the pace with 13 honorees, followed by Western Michigan with 12 and Central Michigan with 10.
Those who made their second consecutive first-team selection were OL Robert Brewster (Ball State), TE Darius Hill (Ball State), WR Jamarko Simmons (Western Michigan), OLB Clayton Mullins (Miami), DE Larry English (Northern Illinois), DT Diyral Briggs (Bowling Green), DB Davonte Shannon (Buffalo), DB Barry Church (Toledo), and kickoff return specialist Antonio Brown (Central Michigan).
The complete All-MAC team is as follows.
Individual Award WinnersFirst Team Offense
Vern Smith Leadership Award Larry English, Northern Illinois
Coach of the Year Brady Hoke, Ball State
Offensive Player of the Year Nate Davis, Ball State
Defensive Player of the Year Larry English, Northern Illinois
Special Teams Player of the Year Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
Freshman of the Year Sean Baker, Ball State
Center - Dan Gerberry, Ball State
Lineman - Robert Brewster, Ball State
Lineman Andrew Hartline, Central Michigan
Lineman Chris Kemme, Akron
Lineman - Andre Ramsey, Ball State
Tight End - Darius Hill, Ball State
Quarterback - Nate Davis, Ball State
Wide Receiver - Jamarko Simmons, Western Michigan
Wide Receiver - Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo
Wide Receiver - Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
Wide Receiver - Bryan Anderson, Central Michigan
Running Back - MiQuale Lewis, Ball State
Running Back - James Starks, Buffalo
Placekicker Nate Parseghian, Miami
Second Tea Offense
Center - Alex Derenthal, Temple
Lineman Augustus Parrish, Kent State
Lineman Jeff Niedermier, Buffalo
Lineman Josh Leuck, Ohio
Lineman - T. J. Lang, Eastern Michigan
Tight End - Branden Ledbetter, Western Michigan
Quarterback - Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan
Wide Receiver - Nick Moore, Toledo
Wide Receiver - Dante Love, Ball State
Wide Receiver - Stephen Williams, Toledo
Wide Receiver - Jacory Stone, Eastern Michigan
Running Back - Dennis Kennedy, Akron
Running Back - Eugene Jarvis, Kent State
Placekicker Mike Salerno, Northern Illinois
Third Team Offense
Center - Eddie Adamski, Northern Illinois
Lineman Jon Brost, Northern Illinois
Lineman Phillip Sawnson, Western Michigan
Lineman Jason Onyebuagu, Northern Illinois
Lineman - Greg Wojt, Central Michigan
Tight End - Andrew Mooney, Ohio
Quarterback - Tim Hiller, Western Michigan
Wide Receiver - Andre Jones, Akron
Wide Receiver - Deryn Bowser, Akron
Wide Receiver - Bruce Francis, Temple
Wide Receiver - Juan Nunez, Western Michigan
Running Back - Brandon West, Western Michigan
Running Back - DaJuane Collins, Toledo
Placekicker - Andrew Aguila, Central Michigan
First Team Defense
Outside Linebacker - Clayton Mullins, Miami
Outside Linebacker - Austin Pritchard, Western Michigan
Inside Linebacker - Nick Bellore, Central Michigan
Inside Linebacker - Joe Hudson, Miami
Down Lineman - Larry English, Northern Illinois
Down Lineman - Frank Zombo, Central Michigan
Down Lineman - Diyral Briggs, Bowling Green
Down Lineman - Terrance Knighton, Temple
Defensive Back - Louis Delmas, Western Michigan
Defensive Back - B.J. Hill, Ball State
Defensive Back - Davonte Shannon, Buffalo
Defensive Back - Barry Church, Toledo
Punter Jake Richardson, Miami
Second Team DefenseThird Team Defense
Outside Linebacker - Derek Burrell, Kent State
Outside Linebacker - Noah Keller, Ohio
Inside Linebacker - Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan
Inside Linebacker - Kevin Grant, Akron
Down Lineman - Andre Neblett, Temple
Down Lineman - Jameson Hartke, Ohio
Down Lineman - Zach Davidson, Western Michigan
Down Lineman - Brandon Crawford, Ball State
Defensive Back - E.J. Biggers, Western Michigan
Defensive Back - Londen Fryar, Western Michigan
Defensive Back - Mike Newton, Buffalo
Defensive Back - Brian Lainhart, Kent State
Punter Chris Miller, Ball State
Outside Linebacker Justin Winters, Buffalo
Outside Linebacker - Boston McCornell, Western Michigan
Inside Linebacker Bryant Haines, Ball State
Inside Linebacker - Tim McCarthy, Northern Illinois
Down Lineman Brandon Bice, Northern Illinois
Down Lineman - Joe Coniglio, Miami
Down Lineman - Almondo Sewell, Akron
Down Lineman - Sean Murnane, Central Michigan
Defensive Back Steven Jackson, Ohio
Defensive Back - Trey Buice, Ball State
Defensive Back - Robbie Wilson, Miami
Defensive Back - Bryan Williams, Akron
Punter Nick Iovinelli, Bowling Green
Kickoff Return Specialist
First Team - Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
Second Team - Travis Shelton, Temple
Third Team - Bryan Williams, Akron
Punt Return Specialist
First Team Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
Second Team - B.J. Hill, Ball State
Third Team - Eugene Harris, Miami