Akeroyd, Avery and Hunt Are Consensus C-USA First-Teamers
Dec. 4, 2007
Houston, Texas - One week after picking up first-team league accolades from the media, a trio of University of Houston players were selected First Team, All-Conference USA by the league's coaches.
Offensive lineman Jeff Akeroyd, wide receiver Donnie Avery and defensive end Phillip Hunt were named to the first-team. Senior running back Anthony Alridge, junior strong safety Kenneth Fontenette, junior long snapper Norbie Juist, as well as Avery as a kick returner, nabbed Second-Team hardware for their efforts in 2007.
A slew of Cougars were named Honorable Mention, All-C-USA: freshman quarterback Case Keenum, sophomore offensive lineman Carl Barnett, junior offensive lineman Michael Bloesch, senior offensive lineman Dustin Dickinson, junior offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, junior tight end Mark Hafner, senior wide receiver Jeron Harvey, junior defensive lineman Ell Ash, senior linebacker Trent Allen, senior linebacker/defensive end Brendan Pahulu, senior free safety Rocky Schwartz, senior kicker T.J. Lawrence and sophomore punter Chase Turner.
Keenum and cornerback Loyce Means again were selected to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.
Avery saw his senior season as a breakthrough campaign, becoming the league's No. 1 receiver. Not only did Avery lead the Cougars in both receptions (81) and receiving yards (1,336), but he also paced C-USA in receptions per game (6.75) and yards per game (111.3). His yardage total was fifth in the nation, and he racked up an impressive 146.67 all-purpose yards per game, thanks in part to his 28.27 kickoff return average.
Akeroyd was the anchor along an offensive line that generated 513.17 yards and 36.33 points per game. A starter for three seasons, Akeroyd's versatility and stability enabled the Cougars to repeat as West Division champions and finish as the nation's fourth-best offense in total yards per game.
Hunt was a one-man wrecking crew on the Cougar defense, as his 9.5 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss were tops in Conference USA. Hunt improved upon his Second-Team selection a year ago and finished with 49 total tackles and a nation's best 10 pass breakups for a defensive lineman. He was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week for his effort against SMU on Nov. 4.
Alridge did everything for the Cougars this season except drive the team bus. For the second straight season, he was honored with Second-Team accolades despite finishing with a 6.4 yards per rush average to pace the league.
Alridge racked up a team-best 1,568 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing with an additional 41 receptions for 424 yards and five scores. He also completed two-of-four passes for 28 yards and the first touchdown of his career. He finished seventh in the nation in rushing and was 12th overall with 180.08 all-purpose yards per game.
Making another move in the secondary had no effect on Fontenette, as he grabbed Second-Team honors even with a switch from cornerback to strong safety. Fontenette - who began his career as a free safety before moving to cornerback and then to strong safety - started all 12 games this season and led the Cougars with four interceptions. He also racked 60 total tackles, including one for a loss as well as six pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
Fontenette was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week after scooping up a fumble against Colorado State and scampering 37 yards for a touchdown that shifted the momentum to the Cougars in their comeback win over the Rams.
Since stepping onto campus as a true freshman in 2005, Juist has been the Cougars long-snapper. For 38 games Juist has provided every snap for punts, field goals and conversion attempts.
Finally, Keenum stepped into the big shoes of the 2006 Consensus C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, Kevin Kolb, and the Cougars barely missed a beat. The C-USA Freshman of the Year as selected by the media, Keenum finished with 1,924 passing yards and 13 touchdowns while completing close to 70 percent of his passes in leading Houston to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28.
Keenum also rushed for 414 yards and nine scores, and his passing efficiency rating of 148.30, placed second in the conference and 16th nationally.
Means began the year as one of the Cougar starting cornerbacks, and finished the year with 13 tackles. It was Means' interception against Rice on Oct. 13 that sealed the Cougars' come-from-behind win over their cross-town rivals.