16 Bearkats Named All-Conference

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FRISCO, Texas — After leading McNeese State to a perfect 11-0 record in regular-season play, senior defensive lineman Bryan Smith has been voted Southland Conference Player of the Year while Cowboy head coach Matt Viator is the Coach of the Year.

Central Arkansas quarterback Nathan Brown is the 2007 Offensive Player of the Year while Nicholls State’s Kareem Moore has been named Defensive Player of the Year. The Newcomer of the Year honor goes to Ladarius Webb of Nicholls State while Karrington Bush of Texas State is the Freshman of the Year.

Smith (6-3, 206) , who missed the final game of the regular season with an injury, ranks third nationally with 1.05 quarterback sacks per game. He has 10.5 sacks among his 51 total tackles on the year. On his way to being name the SLC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, Smith finished with a league record 13.5 sacks as a junior. Included was an SLC record five sacks in one game. Smith was also voted first-team All-SLC as a defensive lineman in 2006 and again this year.

Smith is one of five players named first-team All-SLC two years in a row. Teammate Carlese Franklin (wide receiver) and Sam Houston State’s Blake Martin (tight end) and Brandon Hale (lineman) repeat on the offensive first unit. Joining Smith again on the first-team defensive unit is punter Chris MacDonald of Texas State, the nation’s leader in average at 45.9 yards per punt.

Viator guided McNeese to its second consecutive SLC regular-season title and an all-time SLC best 12th in school history. The Cowboys enter this week’s NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs as the No. 2 seed. After taking over midseason in 2006, Viator has guided McNeese to a 17-2 record. Included in the Cowboys’ 11-0 record this season was a 7-0 mark in SLC games. Viator is now 12-1 in SLC games during his tenure, including 12 wins in a row. McNeese’s 12 regular-season SLC titles is eight more than any other active league member and at least four more than all former members. In addition, the seven other current SLC members have combined for 11 all-time regular-season crowns.

Brown, a junior who helped UCA (7-4 overall, 5-2 in SLC) to a second-place finish in the SLC standings in the Bears first season of play in the league, led the SLC in passing at 280.4 yards per game. He was also the total offense leader with 292.4 yards. The Russellville, Ark., native completed 256 of his 377 pass attempts (67.9 percent) with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on his way to being named first-team All-SLC at quarterback.

Moore, a 6-0, 210-pound defensive back from Okolona, Miss., finished the regular season fourth in the SLC in tackles with 73 and second with four interceptions in 10 games played. He returned two of his picks for touchdowns in helping Nicholls to a 6-5 record on the season. Moore also finds himself on the All-SLC first team at defensive back.

Webb, who became the first Southland player ever to be named player of the week on offense, defense and special teams, led the SLC in interceptions with five, three of which he returned for touchdowns. The junior from Opelika, Ala., also led the Southland in kickoff return average (26.7) and was second in punt returns (17.1). Webb was also first in the SLC after the regular season with 13 passes defended. Webb was voted first-team All-SLC at defensive back and second-team at return specialist.

Bush, who was also voted second-team All-SLC, finished the regular season ranked third in the SLC with 94.5 yards rushing per game. He ran for 1,039 yards and was the lone freshman among the top 10 in the league in rushing average. The Whitewright, Texas, product was fourth in the SLC in kickoff return average at 22.2 yards per attempt.

McNeese State leads all teams with 14 student-athletes named to the 2007 All-SLC first and second teams. Included are seven (two offense, five defense) spots on the first unit and seven (five offense, two defense) on the second.

UCA landed nine on the two teams with five (two offense, three defense) being on the first team. Nicholls State and Sam Houston State each have seven All-SLC team members while Northwestern State has six, Southeastern Louisiana five and Texas State four.

--get teams—

2007 All-Southland Conference Football Teams

First Team Offense

POS.... NAME............................... UNIVERSITY HT. WT. CL............. HOMETOWN

QB....... Nathan Brown................... Central Arkansas 6-2 209 Jr............. Russellville, Ark.

RB....... Jay Lucas.......................... Southeastern Louisiana 5-11 220 Jr. Baton Rouge, La.

RB....... Byron Lawrence............... Northwestern State 5-8 197 Jr. North Little Rock, Ark.

FB....... Broderick Cole................. Nicholls State 5-11 230 Sr. New Orleans, La.

WR...... Carlese Franklin............... McNeese State 5-11 178 Sr............. Kentwood, La.

WR...... Cameron Luke................. Texas State 6-2 211 Jr. Klein, Texas

TE....... Blake Martin..................... Sam Houston State 6-3 236 Sr. Hemphill, Texas

OL....... Brandon Hale................... Sam Houston State 6-3 311 Sr. Grand Prairie, ,Texas

OL....... Demetrius Bell.................. Northwestern State 6-5 263 Sr............. Summerfield, La.
OL....... Eman Naghavi.................. McNeese State 6-2 325 Jr. Katy, Texas

OL....... Brad Gordon..................... Central Arkansas 6-1 295 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.

OL....... Ben Gombossy................ Nicholls State 6-0 300 Sr. Monroe, La.

PK....... Jeff Turner......................... Southeastern Louisiana 5-9 170 So. Houston, Texas

First Team Defense

DL....... Bryan Smith...................... McNeese State 6-3 206 Sr. Newton, Texas

DL....... Taylor Scott....................... Central Arkansas 6-4 256 So. Little Rock, Ark.

DL....... Vaalyn Jackson................ McNeese State 6-0 280 Jr. Sulphur, La.

DL....... Chris Brown...................... Sam Houston State 6-3 218 Jr............. Texarkana, Texas

LB....... Trey Bennett..................... McNeese State 6-1 227 Sr. Newton, Texas

LB....... Allen Nelson...................... McNeese State 6-1 210 Jr. Beaumont, Texas

DB....... Ladarius Webb................ Nicholls State 5-11 180 Jr. Opelika, Ala.

DB....... Kareem Moore................. Nicholls State 6-0 210 Sr. Okolona, Miss.

DB....... Tristan Jackson................ Central Arkansas 5-9 192 Sr............. Beaumont, Miss.

DB....... Byran Richmond............... Sam Houston State 5-9 226 Sr. Humble, Texas

DB....... Jonathan Walker.............. McNeese State 5-11 175 Sr. Lake Charles, La.

P.......... Chris MacDonald............. Texas State 6-4 215 Sr. Mesa, Ariz.

RS....... Tristan Jackson................ Central Arkansas 5-9 192 Sr............. Beaumont, Miss.

Second Team Offense

QB....... Derrick Fourroux.............. McNeese State 6-1 187 So. Erath, La.

RB....... Chris Poullard................... Sam Houston State 5-10 193 So. Killeen, Texas

RB....... Karrington Bush............... Texas State 5-10 182 Fr............. Whitewright, Texas

FB....... Jordy Johnson.................. McNeese State 6-0 212 Sr. Baton Rouge, La.

WR...... Quinten Lawrence............ McNeese State 6-1 180 Jr. Carencro, La.

WR...... Preston Echols................. Central Arkansas 6-0 202 So. Forrrest City, Ark.

TE....... Marquez Branson............. Central Arkansas 6-3 242 Jr. Starkville, Miss.

OL....... Earl Cager........................ Southeastern Louisiana 6-6 365 Sr. New Orleans, La.

OL....... Lance Fremin................... McNeese State 6-1 314 Sr. Starkville, Miss.

OL....... Kyle Link........................... McNeese State 6-6 272 Jr. Lake Charles, La.

OL....... Crawford May................... Texas State 6-2 305 Sr. Miami, Fla.

OL....... Lane Freiwald.................. Central Arkansas 6-7 317 So. Little Rock, Ark.

PK....... Taylor Wilkins................... Sam Houston State 5-7 151 So............. LaMarque, Texas

Second Team Defense

DL....... Jordan Stone.................... Nicholls State 6-1 290 Sr. Chicago, Ill.

DL....... Albert Smith...................... Northwestern State 6-0 300 So. ............ Matthews, La.

DL....... Kenneth Lundy.................. McNeese State 6-1 260 Jr. Bogalusa, La.

DL....... Ray Martin......................... Northwestern State 6-0 223 Sr. Lafayette, La.

LB....... Garrick Spain................... Nicholls State 6-0 205 So. Franklin, La.

LB....... Nolan Bucek..................... Sam Houston State 5-10 194 Jr. Houston, Texas

DB....... C.L. Grogan...................... Northwestern State 5-10 177 Sr. Patterson, La.
DB....... Gary Riggs........................ Northwestern State 6-1 215 So. Jennings, La.

DB....... Eric Jackson..................... Southeastern Louisiana 6-0 182 Jr. Amite, La.

DB....... Tommy Connors............... Southeastern Louisiana 6-0 195 So. Marrero, La.

DB....... Kody Knox........................ McNeese State 6-3 196 Sr. Houston, Texas

P.......... James Paul....................... Central Arkansas 6-2 200 Sr............. Jacksonville, Ark.

RS....... Ladarius Webb................ Nicholls State 5-11 180 Jr. Opelika, Ala.

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2007 All-Southland Conference Football Teams continued

Honorable Mention: QB: Rhett Bomar, SHSU. RB: Brent Grimes, UCA; Kris Bush, McN; Joseph Tobias, NICH. FB: Blake Burton, TXST. WR: Michael Okoronkwo, NICH; Byron Ross, SLU; Aaron Rhea, SFA. TE: Clay Broyles, NWLa. OL: Jeremy Ford, UCA; Jesse Frazier, NICH; Tim Henderson, NWLa.; Brennan Williams, SHSU; Ryan Dretke, SHSU; Hunter Schmidt, SHSU; Taylor Cobb, SFA; Scott Dover, SFA; Brock Pasteur, SFA. PK: Andrew Ireland, TXST. DL: Jairus Jarvis, NICH; Dominic Cooper, NICH; David Branch, SHSU; Jerod Brown, SHSU; Eric Mikolajchak, SHSU; Tim Knicky, SFA; Nick Clark, TXST. LB: James Lancaster, UCA; Corey McMurrian, UCA; Mack Dampier, NWLa.; Mark Newbill, SLU; Antonio Richardson, SLU; Marcus Clark, TXST. DB: Brant Linde, McN; Marcus Brown, McN; Jermaine Boggan, NICH; Lester Brooks, NICH; Carleton Coby, SHSU. P: Michael Capparelli, SHSU; Ryan Gooch, SFA. RS: Eric Jackson, SLU.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bryan Smith, McNeese State

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kareem Moore, Nicholls State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Karrington Bush, Texas State

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Ladarius Webb, Nicholls State

COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Viator, McNeese State