Trio of Cougars Honored on Preseason Conference USA Teams
July 23, 2012
Hayden, a senior defensive back, earned a spot on the all-conference defensive squad after earning C-USA Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors in his first season at Houston in 2011 to help lead the Cougars to a record-breaking 13 victories.
The Houston native paced the team with 11 passes broken up and finished fifth on the squad with two interceptions. He also led the club with five forced fumbles to go along with 66 tackles and eight tackles for loss.
Hayden shined in the second half of the season, returning an interception 54 yards for a touchdown at UAB before stringing together five-straight games with a forced fumble to end the season. In Houston's 30-14 victory over No. 22 Penn State in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl, Hayden forced a fumble to go with two tackles for loss.
Forsch, a junior offensive lineman, was named to the all-conference offensive team after starting all 14 contests last season for the nation's top offense.
The Tomball, Texas, native was a key figure on an offensive line that helped UH lead the country in passing yardage (450.1), total offense (599.1) and scoring offense (49.3) and earned All C-USA Honorable Mention honors at year's end.
Sims, a junior running back, joins Forsch on the all-conference offensive squad following a stellar 2011 campaign that saw the Houston native rush for 821 yards on only 110 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns. He also added 575 yards and four scores while catching 51 passes in 2011.
Sims' numbers in 2011 were enough to earn him First Team All-Conference USA honors. In his two years as a Cougar, Sims has amassed over 2,800 total yards and scored 23 touchdowns.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
A year ago, the Cougars posted a 13-1 mark to set a school single-season record in wins and capped the campaign with a dominating 30-14 win against No. 22 Penn State during the TicketCity Bowl.
Running back Charles Sims led the Cougars in 2011 with 821 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. The electrifying junior also was a receiving threat out of the backfield, hauling in 51 catches for 575 yards and four scores to rank fourth on the team.
Sophomore linebacker Derrick Mathews finished second among the Cougars with 106 tackles during his first collegiate season, while senior linebacker Phillip Steward led the team with six interceptions and added 77 tackles.
After sitting out as a redshirt a year ago, sophomore quarterback David Piland will take the reins from NCAA record-setting signal-caller Case Keenum. Starting most of the 2010 season, Piland threw for 2,641 yards and 14 touchdowns on 201-of-345 passing during his true freshman season.
The Cougars have been prominent on preseason award watch lists, as Sims has been named to the Maxwell and Walter Camp Football Foundation Award watch lists, while Jacolby Ashworth was selected to the Lombardi Award Watch List, cornerback D.J. Hayden to the Thorpe Award and punter Richie Leone to the Ray Guy Award.
To purchase season tickets, fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans can buy season tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by clicking the Red and White Tickets tab at UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
2012 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES PRESEASON AWARDS
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Special Teams Player of the Year
First Team Offense
First Team Defense
First Team Special Teams