USF's Grothe, Randolph Earn BIG EAST Awards

University of South Florida football player Matt Grothe earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. While Ean Randolph was named BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year. Three USF players Stephen Nicholas, Trae Williams and Ean Randolph were named All-BIG EAST First Team, the league office announced Wednesday.

USF freshman quarterback Matt Grothe was named Rookie of the Year, while Senior Ean Randolph earned Special Teams Player of the Year accolades. West Virginia sophomore quarterback Patrick White was named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Pittsburgh senior linebacker H.B. Blades received conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rutgers' head coach Greg Schiano, who lead the Scarlet Knights to only their 2nd 10-win season in school history,  was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

The All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams also were announced. All selections were made by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.

Senior linebacker Stephen Nicholas, junior cornerback Trae Williams and Randolph (kick returner/punt returner) each earned spots on the league's first team roster.  The Bulls did not have a player named to the second team squad. 

Grothe's record-setting freshman campaign caught the eye of the head coaches in the league and across the country.  A Lakeland, Fla. native, he ranks as the nation's top freshman in total offense (258.5).  Grothe completed 196-of-307 passes for 2,495 yards and 14 touchdowns.  In addition, he rushed for 607 yards and nine scores. 

Randolph played a key a dual threat role in the team's success this season, both in the return game and as a wide receiver  was named the BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year as well as an all-conference first team selection. He was tops in the conference in punt return average (14.7) this season by almost two yards. Randolph returned 22 punts for 323 yards and one touchdown. The Bulls' senior also ranks sixth nationally in punt returns. 

Nicholas the Bulls defensive leader is second on the roster this season with 96 tackles, which includes 12 tackles-for-loss and five sacks.  His 320 career tackles rank him second on USF's all-time list and his 50.5 tackles-for-loss are tops in the record book.  He also owns a pair of interceptions in 2006. 

Williams is tops in the BIG EAST and tied for sixth in the nation with seven interceptions (0.58 per game) this season, which matches USF's single-season record set by J.R. Reed as well.  His 10 career picks rank him second on the career list.  He has also contributed 49 tackles, nine pass break ups and a blocked kick. 

The selections of Nicholas, Randolph and Williams marks the first time in program history the Bulls have had more than one player named to the first team in the same season.  Running back Andre Hall was the squad's lone BIG EAST first teamer in 2005.



2006 BIG EAST FOOTBALL AWARDS

BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Patrick White, West Virginia, QB, Sophomore, 6-2, 190, Daphne, Ala./Daphne

BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh, LB, Senior, 6-0, 240, Plantation, Fla./Plantation

BIG EAST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ean Randolph, USF, Return Specialist, Senior, 5-9, 175, Plant City, Fla./Durant

BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Matt Grothe, USF, QB, Freshman, 6-0, 200, Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson

BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
Greg Schiano, Rutgers, 6th Season, 29-41 (.414)
2006 Record: 10-2 overall, 5-2 BIG EAST


2006 ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM: OFFENSE

WR Harry Douglas Louisville Jr. 5-11 170 Jonesboro, Ga./Jones
WR Derek Kinder Pittsburgh Jr. 6-1 205 Albion, N.Y./Albion
OT George Bussey Louisville So. 6-4 298 Louisville, Ky./Western
OT Renardo Foster Louisville Sr. 6-7 325 Ripley, Tenn./Ripley
OT Jeremy Zuttah Rutgers Jr. 6-4 290 Edison, N.J./J.P. Stevens
OG Kurt Quarterman Louisville Sr. 6-5 328 Albany, Ga./Westover
OG Jeremy Sheffey West Virginia Sr. 6-3 290 Catlettsburg, Ky./Boyd County
C Dan Mozes West Virginia Sr. 6-4 290 Washington, Pa./Washington
TE Clark Harris Rutgers Sr. 6-6 260 Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional
QB Patrick White West Virginia So. 6-2 190 Daphne, Ala./Daphne
RB Ray Rice Rutgers So. 5-9 195 New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle
RB Steve Slaton West Virginia So. 5-10 190 Levittown, Pa./Conwell-Egan


2006 ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM: DEFENSE
DL Terrill Byrd Cincinnati So. 6-1 285 Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain
DL **Amobi Okoye Louisville Sr. 6-2 305 Huntsville, Ala./Lee
DL Eric Foster Rutgers Jr. 6-2 260 Homestead, Fla./Homestead
DL Keilen Dykes West Virginia Jr. 6-4 290 Youngstown, Ohio/Chaney
LB Kevin McCullough Cincinnati Sr. 6-2 240 Hudson, Ohio/Hudson/Grand Rapids
LB H.B. Blades Pittsburgh Sr. 6-0 240 Plantation, Fla./Plantation
LB Stephen Nicholas USF Sr. 6-3 225 Jacksonville, Fla./Lee
CB William Gay Louisville Sr. 5-11 184 Tallahassee, Fla./Rickards
CB Darrelle Revis Pittsburgh Jr. 6-0 200 Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa
CB Trae Williams USF Jr. 5-10 185 Plant City, Fla./Durant
S Dominic Ross Cincinnati Sr. 6-0 200 Marion, Ohio/Harding
S **Eric Wicks West Virginia Sr. 6-1 210 Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry

2006 ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM: SPECIAL TEAMS
P Joe Radigan Rutgers Sr. 6-5 220 Hoboken, N.J./Hoboken
K Art Carmody Louisville Jr. 5-9 180 Shreveport, La./Loyola College
KR/PR Ean Randolph USF Sr. 5-9 175 Plant City, Fla./Durant

2006 ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM: OFFENSE
WR Mario Urrutia Louisville So. 6-6 228 Louisville, Ky./Fern Creek
WR Darius Reynaud West Virginia Jr. 5-10 200 Luling, La./Hahnville
OT Pedro Sosa Rutgers Jr. 6-5 295 Union City, N.J./Union Hill
OT Ryan Stanchek West Virginia So. 6-4 280 Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle
OG Trevor Canfield Cincinnati So. 6-5 300 Cincinnati, Ohio/Western Hills
OG Cameron Stephenson Rutgers Sr. 6-5 305 Inglewood, Calif./Hawthorne/LA Harbor
C Eric Wood Louisville So. 6-4 297 Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder
TE Brent Celek Cincinnati Sr. 6-4 260 Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle
QB Brian Brohm Louisville Jr. 6-4 226 Louisville, Ky./Trinity
RB Donald Brown II Connecticut Fr. 5-10 207 Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Red Bank Catholic
RB Brian Leonard Rutgers Sr. 6-2 235 Gouverneur, N.Y./Gouverneur

2006 ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM: DEFENSE
DL Rhema Fuller Connecticut Sr. 6-2 266 Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa
DL Joe Clermond Pittsburgh Jr. 6-3 260 Tampa, Fla./Chamberlain
DL Ramel Meekins Rutgers Sr. 6-0 275 Westwood, N.J./Westwood
DL Jamaal Westerman Rutgers So. 6-3 252 Brampton, Ontario/Notre Dame
DL Jameel McClain Syracuse Jr. 6-1 252 Philadelphia, Pa./George Washington
LB Malik Jackson Louisville Jr. 6-2 231 Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody
LB Devraun Thompson Rutgers Sr. 5-11 220 Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway
LB Kelvin Smith Syracuse Sr. 6-2 233 New Hempstead, N.Y./North Rockland
CB Mike Mickens Cincinnati So. 6-0 165 Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne
CB Tanard Jackson Syracuse Sr. 6-1 193 Silver Spring, Md./Bullis School
S Brandon Sharp Louisville Sr. 5-11 195 Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles
S Ron Girault Rutgers Jr. 5-11 195 Spring Valley, N.Y./St. Joseph's (Montvale)
S Courtney Greene Rutgers So. 6-1 205 New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle

2006 ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM: SPECIAL TEAMS
P Adam Graessle Pittsburgh Sr. 6-4 225 Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman
K Jeremy Ito Rutgers Jr. 5-11 185 Redlands, Calif./Redlands
KR/PR Vaughn Rivers West Virginia Jr. 5-9 170 Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry

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