MU's Albert McClellan C-USA Defensive POY

Marshall defensive end Albert McClellan was named as the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday in a release from the league office. McClellan, who last year was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team and earlier this week was named first team All-C-USA, led the league in sacks with 11.5. He finished as the leader in tackles for loss with 19.0.

Albert McClellan's 19 tackles for loss is tied for the ninth-best season by a Marshall player in a single season. It is the most since Johnathan Goddard made All-American at MU with 28.5 tackles for loss in 2004 as a senior, although McClellan is just a sophomore. His 11.5 sacks is the eighth-most in a single season for a Marshall player and, again, is the most since Goddard had 16 in 2004.

McClellan was 14th overall in tackles in Conference USA with 77 total tackles, meaning 25 percent of his tackles were made behind the line of scrimmage. McClellan joins William King (1993-Southern Conference), Max Yates (2001-Mid-American Conference) and Goddard (2004-MAC) as the only players at Marshall to be named as league defensive player of the year.

Also named by C-USA were Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb as the Offensive Player of the Year; UTEP receiver Johnny Lee Higgins as the Special Teams Player of the Year; and SMU quarterback Justin Willis as the Freshman of the Year. Kolb led the Cougars to the C-USA Championship Game on December 1 against Southern Miss, while Higgins averaged 23 yards per punt return, almost double of the league's number two returner in Marshall's Emmanuel Spann. Willis, a red-shirt freshman, threw for 26 touchdowns, over 2,000 yards and just six interceptions in leading the Mustangs to a 6-6 mark.

Ahmad Bradshaw led Conference USA in rushing, scoring and touchdowns and was one of seven Herd players named to the All-Conference USA team. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Other Marshall players named to the All-Conference USA team this week included first team players in junior center Doug Legursky, freshman tight end Cody Slate (who was also MU's only player named to the All-Freshman Team this year) and junior running back Ahmad Bradshaw on offense. McClellan was joined on the first team defense by senior safety Curtis Keyes. Named to the second team defense was senior linebacker Matt Couch and named third team punt returner was Spann.

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