Houston Earns League-Leading Six Preseason All-Conference USA Selections
July 27, 2011
40 DAYS to KICKOFF
IRVING, Texas - The University of Houston football team had five players earn a league-leading six selections to the 2011 Preseason All-Conference USA team, as chosen by the league's 12 head coaches on Wednesday. Houston quarterback Case Keenum highlighted the selections by being tabbed the Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year.
Joining Keenum on the all-conference offensive squad are running back Bryce Beall, center Chris Thompson and wide receiver Patrick Edwards, who was also selected to the all-conference special teams unit as a punt returner. Senior linebacker Marcus McGraw earned preseason defensive honors for the second-straight season.
Keenum, who has already been named to the Davey O'Brien and Walter Camp Award watch lists, was selected as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the third-consecutive season.
Keenum will continue his march to the top of the NCAA records book in total offense, passing yards and touchdowns thrown. He enters the 2011 campaign with 13,586 passing yards, 107 passing touchdowns and 14,448 yards of total offense.
The Abilene, Texas, native also has posted 22 wins as the Cougars' starting quarterback during his career and has a chance to become the program's all-time winningest quarterback in school history.
Keenum, who has been named to eight All-America teams and has been a finalist for three national offensive awards, was the 2009 Conference USA Most Valuable Player, the 2008 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year and the league's 2007 Freshman of the Year. In addition to his athletic achievements, Keenum is a five-time member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Beall, who is also on the Doak Walker Award watch list, has compiled 2,787 rushing yards over three years as a Cougar and scored 32 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-Conference running back in 2010 in addition to being the 2008 Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Last season, he broke the school record for career rushing touchdowns and needs less than 900 yards in 2011 to become the school's all-time rusher.
Edwards was the Cougars' top receiver in 2010, posting team highs of 71 catches for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Hearne, Texas, native ranked among the Conference USA top-five individual leaders in all three categories and placed 15th nationally with 91.7 receiving yards per game.
Edwards, a Biletnikoff Award watch list member, finished with five 100-yard receiving games a year ago, including a career-high 177 yards on 10 receptions during the regular-season finale at Big 12 member Texas Tech. Edwards also averaged 15.4 yard per punt return with one touchdown in 2010.
Thompson rounded out the Cougars recognized on the offensive squad after playing a key role in helping lead the Cougar offense to top-15 national rankings in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense a year ago.
Thompson, who helped guide the Cougars to more than 39 points, 450 total yards and 325 passing yards per game for the third straight season, earned 2010 All-Conference USA First Team honors for the first time in his career and was named to the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award watch lists for the upcoming season.
McGraw, also a Rotary Lombardi Award watch list member, is the lone representative on defense for the Cougars. McGraw earned second team All-Conference USA honors in 2010 after leading Houston with 110 tackles, including 56 solo stops, marking the third straight season that the Arlington, Texas, native led the Cougars in that category.
McGraw, who has started every game of his three-year career, recorded seven games with at least 10 tackles in 2010, including a season-high 14 stops against SEC member Mississippi State.
2011 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