UH Cougars Honored On All-Conference USA Squads
Dec. 6, 2011
HOUSTON - The Houston Cougars dominated the 2011 Conference USA All-Conference football teams on Tuesday, as UH players filled 12 spots on the first and second teams. Houston also had four players receive honorable mention accolades and three players named to the All-Freshman squad.
Houston placed six members on the first team, with five coming on offense. Senior quarterback Case Keenum led the list, which also included senior center Chris Thompson, tight end Justin Johnson, running back Charles Sims and wide receiver Patrick Edwards. The UH offense was tops in college football this season, averaging 50.8 points and 599.0 yards per game.
Keenum was the country's top passer this season, throwing for 5,099 yards and 45 touchdowns. His yardage and TD totals led the country, while his completion percentage (71.7) and passing efficiency (177.9) ranked among the top six in America.
Thompson was named a first team All-Conference USA choice in 2010 as a guard, but made a smooth transition to center in 2011. He led an offensive line that blocked for the country's most productive offense and allowed just 16 total sacks in 13 games.
Sims had a breakout sophomore season, rushing for a team high 782 yards and nine scores. The versatile running back averaged a team-best 7.5 yards per carry and caught 46 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games.
Edwards and Johnson were named first team picks as pass-catchers. Edwards led the country with 18 receiving touchdowns. He also ranked among national leaders with 1,524 yards and 19.3 yards per reception. He owns the nation's top receiving day with his seven catches for 318 yards and five touchdowns vs. Rice. Johnson, named to the all-league squad as a tight end, was one of the conference's more versatile players, lining up all over the field (backfield, tight end and wide receiver) to create match-up nightmares for opposing coaches. Johnson registered career highs in receptions (75), yards (1,081) and touchdowns (11) this season and the combination of Edwards and Johnson had more receiving scores (29) than any duo in America.
Houston also placed one defender on the first team defense, senior linebacker Sammy Brown. Few players in college football were as disruptive as Brown this season. He leads the country with 28 tackles for loss and ranks among the top five nationally with 12.5 sacks. His 28 TFLs set the school record and he could break the all-time single-season sacks mark with two more sacks in the 2012TicketCity Bowl.
Four Cougars were named to the C-USA Second Team. Jacolby Ashworth earned a second team nod at left tackle, while Tyron Carrier was named second team for both his work as a wide receiver and as a kick returner. Carrier ranked among national leaders with 87 catches for 914 yards and five TDs, while he also tied an NCAA record with his seventh career kickoff return for a score in the Oct. 27 victory against Rice. Edwards was named C-USA's second team punt returner in addition to his first team pick at wide receiver.
Marcus McGraw and D.J. Hayden were named all-second team defenders. McGraw led Houston for a fourth consecutive year in tackles, recording 131 stops and 13.5 tackles for loss in 13 games. McGraw (500 career tackles) is the UH career leader in assisted tackles and needs eight tackles in the TicketCity Bowl to surpass Ryan McCoy (1990-93) as the school's all-time leader for total tackles.
Hayden has been one of the country's most valuable newcomers. The junior college transfer ranks sixth on the team with 62 tackles and has been outstanding in coverage, defending 11 passes, breaking up nine and recording two interceptions. Hayden has also recovered two fumbles, forced four and boasts six tackles for loss from his cornerback position.
Senior running back Michael Hayes an sophomore offensive guard Kevin Forsch were named honorable mention picks on offense, while junior place kicker Matt Hogan and sophomore punter Richie Leone made the list on special teams.
Houston had three players named to the All-Freshman Team today as well. Rowdy Harper started all-13 games at right tackle to earn a spot, while Derrick Mathews and Eric Braswell won nods at linebacker and defensive end. Mathews was second on the team with 97 total tackles and was third with nine tackles for loss, including a sack. The Houston native picked off three passes in his 13 starts, including a pass vs. Marshall, which he returned for a score. Braswell improved each week at defensive end and finished with 43 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 10 starts.