Conference USA Preseason Awards

Conference USA has announced its preseason awards. Broderick Clark was named the Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

Defending Conference USA champion TCU has been chosen to repeat its regular season title in 2003, according to the league's head coaches. The Horned Frogs received 115 of a possible 121 points, garnering eight first place votes.

TCU is coming off a 10-2 season in which it finished ranked 22nd in the nation after defeating then-No. 21 Colorado State in the AXA Liberty Bowl. The Horned Frogs return 12 starters as they aim to defend their title. A pair of talented sophomores, QB Tye Gunn and RB Lonta Hobbs, headline the offensive returnees, while DE Bo Schobel and S Marvin Godbolt are back to lead a defensive unit that was first in the nation in total defense last season.

Southern Miss, which received two first place votes and 107 total points, was selected second. The Golden Eagles welcome back 14 starters, including eight on a talented defensive unit. The Golden Eagles defense is led by senor linebacker Rod Davis, a Butkus Award candidate who led C-USA with 168 tackles and set a school record with 23.5 tackles for loss. Michael Boley joins him at the linebacking spot, while Etric Pruitt and Greg Brooks lead a strong secondary.

Newcomer South Florida, which posted a 9-2 record last season as an independent, was chosen third in its initial season as a member of Conference USA. The Bulls have not lost a home game in three seasons, carrying a 19-game home win streak (second-longest in the nation) into the 2003 campaign. A total of 12 starters are back for USF, with RB Clenton Crossley heading the offensive returnees and S J.R. Reed topping the defensive players.

Cincinnati edged Louisville for fourth place. Both schools are looking to extend their strings of consecutive bowl appearances with the Bearcats having appeared in the postseason in three straight years, while U of L has made five bowl trips in a row. Cincinnati features talented junior junior QB Gino Guidugli, who passed for a school record 3,543 yards last season. Louisville opens the Bobby Petrino era with 14 returning starters, including TE Ronnie Ghent and LB Rod Day.

East Carolina was picked to finish sixth, just ahead Tulane and UAB. The Pirates begin their first season under new head coach John Thompson and feature preseason All-American offensive lineman Brian Rimpf. The Green Wave are coming off an 8-5 season that included a victory in the ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl. Tulane is led by all-purpose RB Mewelde Moore, who has more rushing and receiving yards over the past two years than any other returning player in the nation. The Blazers have several talented young skill players, headlined by sophomore QB Darrell Hackney.

Rounding out the preseason poll are Memphis, Houston and Army. Memphis has its own talented sophomore on offense in RB DeAngelo Williams. Houston opens the Art Briles era this fall and although the Cougars must replace RB Joffrey Reynolds, they expect to have an exciting, high-powered offense. Army was one of the youngest teams in the nation in 2002 and the Black Knights are looking forward to continued development from those young players in the upcoming campaign.


Predicted Order of Finish (1st place votes) Pts.

1. TCU (8) 115
2. Southern Miss (1) 106
3. South Florida (1) 81
4. Cincinnati 77
5. Louisville 73
6. East Carolina (1) 64
7. Tulane 60
8. UAB 56
9. Memphis 49
10. Houston 26
11. Army 16

First Team Offense
QB Gino Guidugli, Cincinnati
RB Art Brown, East Carolina
RB Mewelde Moore, Tulane
OL Anthony Alabi, TCU
OL Andy Galloway, UAB
OL Rex Hadnot, Houston
OL Chris McGee, Tulane
OL Brian Rimpf, East Carolina
WR Brandon Middleton, Houston
WR Huey Whittaker, South Florida
WR Roydell Williams, Tulane
TE Stephen Cucci, Houston

First Team Defense
DL Trent Cole, Cincinnati
DL Terrell Paul, Southern Miss
DL Chad Pugh, TCU
DL Bo Schobel, TCU
LB Derrick Ballard, Memphis
LB Michael Boley, Southern Miss
LB Rod Davis, Southern Miss
LB Zac Woodfin, UAB
DB Greg Brooks, Southern Miss
DB Doug Monaghan, Cincinnati
DB Etric Pruitt, Southern Miss
DB J.R. Reed, South Florida

First Team Special Teams
K Nick Browne, TCU
P Jimmy McClary, Houston
KR Terrance Copper, East Carolina
PR Broderick Clark, Louisville

Offensive Player of the Year
Mewelde Moore, RB, Tulane

Defensive Player of the Year
Rod Davis, LB, Southern Miss

Special Teams Players of the Year
Nick Browne, K, TCU
Broderick Clark, KR, Louisville

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