HOUSTON - Houston Football led all American Athletic Conference teams with seven first-team selections on Phil Steele's 2014 Preseason All-American Athletic Conference Team announced Wednesday. In all, UH placed a league-best 16 student-athletes on Steele's first, second and third preseason conference teams.
Offensively, junior receiver Deontay Greenberry and senior offensive linemen Rowdy Harper and Bryce Redman were named to Steele's first team while senior linebackers Derrick Mathews and Efrem Oliphant and junior safety Trevon Stewart earned defensive honors. Sophomore Demarcus Ayers was named Steele's first team kick returner, one season after being named The American's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year.
Steele's Preseason All-AAC second team features The American's 2013 Rookie of the Year in sophomore quarterback John O'Korn, junior running back Kenneth Farrow, senior receiver Markeith Ambles and junior safety Adrian McDonald while his third team includes junior running back Ryan Jackson, senior receiver Daniel Spencer, senior defensive end Trevor Harris, senior defensive tackle Joey Mbu and sophomore linebacker Steven Taylor.
The 16 players selected are among 28 Houston players with starting experience who return in 2014 and have accounted for 264 career starts.
Greenberry led The American with 1,202 receiving yards despite missing a full game with an injury and leaving a second after Houston's first series. His 11 receiving touchdowns ranked second in the league as he became the 17th player in UH history to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark.
Ayers led The American and was 12th nationally with an average of 27.6 yards per kick return. The Lancaster, Texas, native finished the year with 37 returns for a UH freshman-record 1,021 yards including a 95-yard touchdown return vs. BYU.
Recently named to the Rimington Trophy watch list for the second consecutive season, Redman has started the last 19 games at center for Houston. Redman led the Houston offensive line in 2013 with 989 snaps and 41 knockdown blocks.
A starter on the Houston offensive line for all 39 career games played, Harper showed his versatility in 2013, starting eight games at left guard, three at left tackle and two at right tackle. He finished the year with 923 snaps and 31 knockdown blocks.
Mathews leads all active players nationally with 348 career tackles and 39 career tackles for loss. Like Harper, Mathews has started all 39 games of his career and has eclipsed the century mark in tackles his first three seasons with the Cougars. The team's Wilson Whitley Co-Defensive MVP in 2013, Mathews led all linebackers in The American with seven sacks.
Oliphant started all 13 games for Houston at linebacker in 2013 and led the team with 134 tackles, ranking second in The American and 12th nationally with an average of 10.3 tackles per game. Oliphant was second in The American and led Houston with 13 tackles for loss.
Stewart led the nation in 2013 with 10 turnovers - a nation's best and UH single-season record six fumble recoveries and four interceptions. Stewart shared the team's Wilson Whitley Defensive MVP with Mathews and was third on the team with 109 tackles.
2014 FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS
Houston fans can guarantee a place in history by purchasing season tickets for the first ever season in the new Houston Football Stadium. Season tickets are currently on sale starting at just $140 as are Memorial Hermann Family Plan four-pack season tickets, two adult and two youth, for just $299. Lower-level reserved season tickets start at just $200.
University of Houston alumni from the last five years (2010-14) can purchase season tickets for just $125 (upper levels) and $175 (lower level) in specially-designated Young Alumni sections with a multiplier of four times donations to Cougar Pride giving levels for the first five years after graduation.Houston opens the 2014 season at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 29, when it hosts UTSA in the first ever game in the Houston Football Stadium.