Albert McClellan had forty tackles for the Herd as he started six games, including the final four at defensive end. 26 of his stops were solos and he was third on the team in sacks with three. McClellan also forced a fumble and had two passes broken up in addition to seven tackles for loss for minus-26 yards. Marty Biagi, a red-shirt freshman for Marshall, led all freshman punters in C-USA with a 38.4 yards per punt average this season. That is the best average by a MU freshman punter since 2003, when Klint Rose averaged 38.5 yards per punt and is fourth-best ever for a freshman punter at Marshall. Biagi downed 15 of his 60 punts inside the 20-yard line, while only 24 of his other 45 punts were returned, meaning only 40 percent of all of Marshall's punts where returned on the season. Biagi's 2,343 punting yards are the most by a Herd freshman since Chris Hanson, who now punts for the Jacksonville Jaguars, punted for 2,352 yards in 1995 for Marshall and averaged 37.3 yards per punt.
"We're excited about the two freshmen making the team," said Marshall head football coach Mark Snyder. "As the season wore on, I felt we had a couple of more freshmen that were definitely worthy of such an honor. It's an exciting and bright future for us." Marshall completed its first season as a member of Conference USA in 2005, moving from the Mid-American Conference. The Herd was 4-7 under first-year head coach Snyder, who was not hired until the end of Spring Football early this year.
Joe Burnett of UCF, who also joined C-USA from the MAC in 2005, tied for the league-lead with five interceptions and also led the league with a 14.7 average per punt return to collect the dual spots. The rookie returned the only punt for a touchdown in the league this season as he raced 60 yards for a score against Rice on Nov. 19. He was joined on the squad by fellow UCF defensive back Jason Venson, running back Kevin Smith, offensive linemen L.J. Anderson and Patrick Brown and linebacker Jordan Richards. Smith put up impressive numbers in the Golden Knights' backfield as he ranks sixth nationally among freshmen with 868 rushing yards.
Houston had the second most members as the Cougars placed five on the All-Freshman team, including four defensive players and place kicker Ben Bell. Defensive back Kenneth Fontenette tied for third in the league with four interceptions and was joined on the defensive side by linemen Cody Pree and Phillip Hunt, along with linebacker Cody Lubojasky. Rice, a first-year member of the league who formerly competed in the Western Athletic Conference along with now C-USA members UTEP, SMU and Tulsa, placed three members on the squad, including quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarett Dillard. Clement led the Owls with 582 yards passing and five touchdown strikes, four of which were to Dillard. Dillard caught at least two passes in each contest of his rookie campaign and led the team with 35 receptions for 524 yards and five touchdowns. Also named to the squad from Rice was offensive lineman Austin Wilkinson.
Joining Smith and Clement in the offensive backfield is SMU running back DeMyron Martin. Martin led the Mustangs' ground attack with 854 yards and seven touchdowns. Fellow Mustang Jessie Henderson earned the kick returner spot after leading the league with a 27.6 return average. He had one of four league kickoff return touchdowns - an 88-yarder against Tulane on Sept. 24. Memphis, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP each placed a pair of players on the all-freshman squad. Memphis placed wide receiver Maurice Jones and offensive lineman Brandon Pearce on the all-freshman unit. Jones caught 15 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Tulane placed offensive lineman Michael Parenton and wide receiver Cary Koch on the squad. Koch had 23 catches for 308 yards and two scores.
West Division champion Tulsa had a pair of defensive players named to the squad: defensive lineman Moton Hopkins and defensive back Roy Roberts. Hopkins posted 21 tackles and two sacks, while Roberts made 28 tackles and picked off two passes. UTEP had a pair of linemen on the all-freshman team - Robby Felix (offense) and James Olalekan (defense). Olalekan made seven starts and saw action in all 11 games.
UAB and Southern Miss each placed one member on the team. Linebacker Kris Guyton represented the Blazers, while tight end Shawn Nelson represented the Golden Eagles. Guyton posted 43 tackles, including a season-high 12 against Rice when he also forced two fumbles. Nelson caught at least one pass in each of the Golden Eagles' last 10 games and became just the second tight end in school history to record a 100-yard receiving game when he caught five passes for 113 yards against Tulane on Nov. 26.
2005 C-USA FOOTBALL ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Quarterback - Chase Clement, Rice
Running Backs- DeMyron Martin, SMU and Kevin Smith, UCF
Offensive Linemen- Brandon Pearce, Memphis, Austin Wilkinson, Rice, Michael Parenton, Tulane, L.J. Anderson, UCF, Patrick Brown, UCF and Robby Felix, UTEP
Tight End- Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss Wide Receiver- Maurice Jones, Memphis, Jarett Dillard, Rice and Cary Koch, Tulane
Defensive Linemen- Albert McClellan, Marshall, Cody Pree, Houston, Phillip Hunt, Houston, Moton Hopkins, Tulsa and James Olalekan, UTEP
Linebackers- Cody Lubojasky, Houston, Kris Guyton, UAB and Jordan Richards, UCF
Defensive Backs- Kenneth Fontenette, Houston, Roy Roberts, Tulsa, Joe Burnett, UCF and Jason Venson, UCF
Placekicker- Ben Bell, Houston
Punter- Marty Biagi, Marshall
Kick Returner- Jessie Henderson, SMU
Punt Returner- Joe Burnett, UCF