NEW ORLEANS – A pair of first-team selections – senior receiver Roydell Williams (LaPlace, La.) and punter Chris Beckman (Grenada, Miss.) – lead a contingent of six Green Wave players on the 2004 All-Conference USA football teams announced Tuesday by the league. In addition to Williams and Beckman, safety Joey Dawson (Gibson, La.) was a second-team choice while three Green Wave players – freshman defensive lineman Antonio Harris (Shreveport, La.), linebacker Anthony Cannon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and punt returner Fred Smith (Destrehan, La.) – were chosen to the third team.
A trio of Tulane freshmen were named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team as well, including Harris, running back Matt Forté (Slidell, La.) and offensive lineman Aryan Barto (Houston, Texas).
Williams, who this season became the league's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 34, led Tulane with 52 catches for 826 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns in 2004. Williams, who was named to the All-Conference USA first team for the second straight season, earned All-Conference recognition in each of his four active seasons with the Green Wave as he was an All-Freshman Team choice in 2000 and earned second-team all-league honors in 2001 before sitting out most of the 2002 season with an injury.
Williams is only the third Tulane player to earn first team All C-USA honors in back-to-back seasons, joining quarterback Shaun King (1997-98) and offensive lineman/tight end Cory Geason (1996-97). Three other players – receiver JaJuan Dawson (1997, 1999), offensive lineman Bernard Robertson (1998, 2000) and running back Mewelde Moore (2001, 2003) – were twice named first team all-conference, but not in back-to-back seasons.
Beckman led Conference UA and ranks 24th in the country in punting average with his 42.7 mark. The sophomore, who was the second-team all-conference punter as well as an All-Freshman choice last season, saw 18 of his 2004 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, kicked only two of his 52 kicks into the end zone for touchbacks all season, and recorded 13 punts of 50-plus yards.
Dawson, a senior captain for the Green Wave in 2004, earned his first All C-USA accolades as Tulane's only second-team selection. He ranked second on the team in tackles with 86 and tied for the team lead with 48 solo stops while adding a sack, 4.5 tackles for loss and a pair of pass break-ups on the season.
Leading tackler Anthony Cannon led the trio of Green Wave players on the third team after his third consecutive 100-tackle season. A junior, Cannon made 107 stops to rank fourth in Conference USA. He was also the Wave's leader in quarterback sacks with four and forced four fumbles on the year.
He was joined on the third team by defensive end Antonio Harris, the only freshman defensive player on any of the All-Conference USA squads. Harris led all Tulane defensive linemen in tackles with 35 while also accounting for seven tackles for loss and three sacks. The true freshman from Shreveport's Green Oaks High School started every game for the Wave in 2004.
Sophomore punt returner Fred Smith, who ranked second in the league in punt return average with an 11.6 mark, was named the third team All Conference USA punt returner. He brought back 23 kicks for 267 yards during the season, including a 75-yard return for a touchdown versus UAB.
Forté led all Conference USA freshmen, and ranked 10th in the league, in rushing with 624 yards on 140 carries, including a 216-yard, four-touchdown day versus Army when he set the school freshman rushing record. He also ranked third on the Green Wave team in catches with 20 for 180 yards and two TDs.
Houston freshman Aryan Barto, the Green Wave's second team center, became the fourth Tulane offensive lineman to earn All-Freshman honors in the last five seasons. The Wave's total of only three rookie team selections in 2004 marked the lowest number since the 1999 season.
The All-Conference USA and All-Freshman teams are selected by a vote of league head coaches and media representatives from each C-USA city.
-- Roll Wave --
Six Wave Players Earn All C-USA Accolades
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