Marshall Tight End Cody Slate All-American

Conference USA had a number of players named to All-American teams this year, led by consensus All-American running back Kevin Smith of UCF. Marshall tight end Cody Slate was named an honorable mention All-American by both, from Sports Illustrated, and to the team (found at Slate led MU receivers again with 66 catches for 818 yards and five TDs.

Conference USA also announced its 2007 Coaches All-Conference football teams last week. Each school was once represented with at least one first team selection, and Marshall had nine on the teams, including C.J. Spillman, Cody Slate and Doug Legursky.

Tight End Cody Slate was named first team tight end by the media, but second team by the coaches on the All-Conference USA teams. Slate was also named an honorable mention All-American by and photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Marshall had three players named to the first and second teams, while four players received honorable mention accolades. First team honors went to Marshall center Doug Legursky, who is All-C-USA for the third straight year and was named first team by media and coaches. Cody Slate, who was the first team tight end on the media's team, was joined on the second team all-league team by junior safety C.J. Spillman, who led the Herd with 131 tackles - third in the league. Spillman was also second team on media team.

C.J. Spillman sent East Carolina QB Patrick Pinkney into the air on this play during the Herd's 26-7 win over the Pirates. Spillman is second team All-Conference USA on both the media and coaches teams. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Herd had four players garner All-Conference USA honorable mention. Quarterback Bernard Morris leads that group, throwing for a career-best 3,000-plus passing yards and becoming the first-ever Marshall quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in his career. Morris and Legursky will be joined at the Hula Bowl in January by Herd senior receiver Marcus Fitzgerald. Senior defensive tackle Byron Tinker joins Morris on the honorable mention team. Two returning players, junior linebacker Maurice Kitchens and punt returner (and receiver) Emmanuel Spann are also All-C-USA honorable mention. Marshall also put two freshmen on the C-USA All-Freshman team, with running back Darius Marshall and offensive lineman Josh Evans being named to both the media and coaches all-frosh team.

Emmanuel Spann hauled in this 17-yard TD pass from quarterback, and room mate, Bernard Morris in the fourth quarter of Marshall's 23-7 lead over East Carolina this season in Huntington. Spann and Morris were named to the All-Conference USA honorable mention team with defenders Maurice Kitchens and Byron Tinker. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Southern Miss produced a pair of first team defensive lineman in seniors Matthew Chatelain and Martavius Prince, joined on the first team defense by linebacker Gerald McRath and defensive back Brandon Sumrall. Offensive lineman Chris Clark and tight end Shawn Nelson round out the Golden Eagles league-best six first team honorees.

Headlining Central Florida's all-conference players is junior RB Kevin Smith. Smith leads the country in rushing with an incredible 188.1 yards-per-game average. He set a new all-time NCAA FBS record for rushing attempts with 415 and enters the AutoZone Liberty Bowl with 2,448 yards, second in FBS history and 181 yards shy of breaking Barry Sanders all-time mark. Smith is joined on the first team by Knights defensive lineman Leger Douzable, defensive back Joe Burnett (who was also chosen as the first-team punt returner) and long snapper Michael Buscemi.

Houston nabbed seven selections, including three first-teamers. Cougar senior lineman Jeff Akeroyd garnered first-team honors, as well as receiver Donnie Avery and defensive lineman Phillip Hunt. Running back Anthony Alridge headlined UH's four second team choices. West Division champion Tulsa, East Carolina and UTEP each had six players earn all-conference recognition.

Golden Hurricane senior quarterback Paul Smith was named to the first team after a record-setting senior season. The Oklahoma native has thrown for over 300 yards in all 13 TU games this season and 14 times in his career. Additionally, he has thrown for three or more TDs in 10 games this year and 14 times in his career. Smith leads the nation and C-USA in points responsible for and set the C-USA single season record for total offense and passing yards. Fellow seniors Chris Chamberlain and Nelson Coleman filled two of the three first team linebacker spots.

East Carolina placed senior Chris Johnson on the first team as a kick returner and the second team as a running back. Two Pirate defensive linemen, Zack Slate and C.J. Wilson, earned second team honors. UTEP wide out Jeff Moturi was chosen as one of the three first-team wide receivers, while teammate Quintin Demps was one of the first team defensive back choices. O'Neill Cousins was a first team offensive linemen and Jose Martinez was the first team kicker, giving the Miners the second-most selections on the first team with four. Rice had four overall selections on the first and second teams, followed by Marshall and Memphis with three. Rice was led by first-team selection WR Jarett Dillard. Dillard became the eighth receiver in NCAA history to reach 40 career TD catches and has scored a touchdown in 17 of his last 18 conference games and in 23 of the last 27 overall. Memphis had a first team offensive lineman with Andy Smith on the list for the Tigers.

Tulane running back Matt Forté, the nation's second-leading rusher at 177.3 ypg., was a first-team selection, while UAB senior defensive back Will Dunbar represented the Blazers on the first-team defense. SMU was represented by first team punter Thomas Morstead.

Marshall senior tackle Byron Tinker put pressure on UAB QB Joseph Webb in the Marshall win over the Blazer. Tinker and fellow senior Bernard Morris were named Honorable Mention All-Conference USA on the coaches team, as well as juniors Maurice Kitchens and Emmanuel Spann.. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff


Quarterback - Paul Smith, Sr., Tulsa
Running Back- Matt Forte', Sr., Tulane
Running Back- Kevin Smith, Jr., UCF
Offensive Lineman- Doug Legursky, Sr., Marshall
Offensive Lineman- Jeff Akeroyd, Sr., Houston
Offensive Lineman- Chris Clark, Sr., Southern Miss
Offensive Linemen- Oniel Cousins, Sr., UTEP
Offensive Lineman- Andy Smith, Sr., Memphis
Tight End- Shawn Nelson, Jr., Southern Miss
Wide Receiver- Donnie Avery, Sr., Houston
Wide Receiver- Jarett Dillard, Jr., Rice
Wide Receiver- Jeff Moturi, So., UTEP

Defensive Lineman- Matthew Chatelain, Sr., Southern Miss
Defensive Lineman- Leger Douzable, Sr., UCF
Defensive Lineman- Phillip Hunt, Jr., Houston
Defensive Lineman- Martavius Prince., Sr., Southern Miss
Linebacker- Chris Chamberlain, Sr., Tulsa
Linebacker- Nelson Coleman, Sr., Tulsa
Linebacker- Gerald McRath, So., Southern Miss
Defensive Back- Joe Burnett, Jr., UCF
Defensive Back- Quintin Demps, Sr., UTEP
Defensive Back- Will Dunbar, Sr., UAB
Defensive Back- Brandon Sumrall, Sr., Southern Miss

Place kicker- Jose Martinez, Jr., UTEP
Punter- Thomas Morstead, Jr., SMU
Kick Returner- Chris Johnson, Sr., East Carolina
Punt Returner- Joe Burnett, Jr., UCF
Long Snapper- Michael Buscemi, Sr., UCF

Quarterback - Chase Clement, Jr., Rice
Running Back- Chris Johnson, Sr., East Carolina
Running Back- Anthony Alridge, Sr., Houston
Running Back- Damion Fletcher, So., Southern Miss
Offensive Lineman- Josh Coffman, Sr., East Carolina
Offensive Lineman- Nick Dean, Sr., Southern Miss
Offensive Lineman- Robby Heos, Sr., Rice
Offensive Lineman- Ryan McKee, Jr., Southern Miss
Offensive Lineman- Josh Sitton., Sr., UCF
Offensive Lineman- Kyle Smith, Sr., UCF
Tight End- Cody Slate, So., Marshall
Wide Receiver- Duke Calhoun, So., Memphis
Wide Receiver- Trae Johnson, Fr., Tulsa
Wide Receiver- Brennan Marion, Jr., Tulsa

Defensive Lineman- Moton Hopkins, Jr., Tulsa
Defensive Lineman- Keith Shologan, Sr., UCF
Defensive Lineman- Zack Slate, Jr., East Carolina
Defensive Lineman- C.J. Wilson, So., East Carolina
Linebacker- Jeremy Jones, Sr., UTEP
Linebacker- Jake Kasser, Sr., Memphis
Linebacker- Brian Raines, Jr., Rice
Defensive Back- Kenneth Fontennette, Jr., Houston
Defensive Back- Sha'Reff Rashad, Sr., UCF
Defensive Back- Van Eskridge, So., East Carolina
Defensive Back- C.J. Spillman, Jr., Marshall

Place kicker- Swayze Waters, Jr., UAB
Punter- Britt Barefoot., So., Southern Miss
Kick Returner- Donnie Avery, Sr., Houston
Punt Returner- Quintin Demps, Sr., UTEP L
ong Snapper- Norby Juist., Jr., Houston

Quarterback - Bernard Morris, Sr., Marshall
Defensive Lineman- Byron Tinker, Sr., Marshall
Linebacker- Maurice Kitchens, Jr., Marshall
Punt Returner- Emmanuel Spann, Jr., Marshall

Darius Marshall unleashed this 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in The Herd's 46-39 win over UAB to end the season. Marshall and Josh Evans were named to both the coaches and media All-Freshman teams in Conference USA.. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Quarterback - Case Keenum, Houston
Running Back - Darius Marshall, Marshall
Running Back - Charles Clay, Tulsa
Offensive Lineman - D.J. Scott, East Carolina
Offensive Lineman - Josh Evans, Marshall
Offensive Lineman - Dominik Riley, Memphis
Offensive Lineman - Scott Mitchell, Rice
Offensive Lineman - Andrew Nierman, Tulane
Offensive Lineman - Jah Reid, UCF
Tight End - Jeffrey Anderson, UAB
Wide Receiver - James Casey, Rice
Wide Receiver - Trae Johnson, Tulsa
Defensive Lineman - Linval Joseph, East Carolina
Defensive Lineman - Scott Soloman, Rice
Defensive Lineman - Justin Smart, SMU
Defensive Lineman - Bruce Miller, UCF
Linebacker - Mike Tashman, UAB
Linebacker - Derrick Hallman, UCF
Linebacker - Darius Nall, UCF
Defensive Back - Travis Simmons, East Carolina
Defensive Back - Loyce Means, Houston
Defensive Back - C.J. Bailey, USM
Defensive Back - Chico Hunter, USM
Place kicker - Justin Estes, Southern Miss
Punter - Kyle Peterson, UTEP
Kick Returner - Trae Johnson, Tulsa
Punt Returner - Dwayne Harris, East Carolina
Long Snapper - Keenan Bratcher, Memphis

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