July 23, 2012
A trio of seniors headline the list of preseason Conference USA Football award winners, as chosen by the league's 12 head coaches. SMU senior RB Zach Line was chosen as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Tulane senior LB Trent Mackey was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Southern Miss senior return specialist Tracey Lampley earned Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Line was named first team All-C-USA in both 2010 and 2011 and led the league in rushing both years. Last season, Line suffered a foot injury and missed the last three games of the season but still ranked seventh in the nation in rushing at 122.4 yards per game. He posted eight 100-yard rushing games in 10 games played and was named one of 10 Doak Walker Award semifinalists. Line led C-USA with 17 rushing touchdowns in 2011.
A first team All-Conference USA selection a year ago, Mackey was one of the nation's top defenders in 2011, logging 145 (96 solo/49 assists) tackles in 12 games. He finished second among C-USA players and ranked fourth nationally with 12.1 stops per game. Mackey posted double-figure tackles in eight of his 12 games, including 18 stops against Syracuse, which was the 18th-best single game effort in college football last season. His tackle total as a junior ranks 10th among the school's single season leaders but was the most by a Tulane player in a single season since 1983. Mackey also accounted for 14 tackles for lost yardage, which ranked fifth among conference players, 4.5 sacks, one fumble return and one interception return for a touchdown. Offensively, he lined up in the backfield in the season opener against Southeastern Louisiana and caught a three-yard touchdown pass.
Lampley was named first team All Conference USA as a punt returner and earned an honorable mention nod as a wide receiver last season, while frequently lining up in the backfield. He racked up 1,798 all-purpose yards, including 463 yards rushing, 574 yards receiving, 356 punt return yards and 405 kick return yards. Lampley registered back-to-back games with 200 or more all-purpose yards, totaling 251 yards against Memphis and 240 against Houston, when he was named the C-USA Championship Game Most Valuable Player. He had 47 receptions and four touchdowns through the air, while adding 91 rushes and three touchdowns on the ground.
SMU and UCF had the most overall preseason selections with four, while East Carolina, Houston, Rice and Southern Miss had three. Each school had at least one player named to the team.
The 2012 C-USA Football season kicks off Thursday, August 30, when Rice hosts UCLA and UCF visits Akron. Each of the league's 12 teams are in action during opening weekend, with eight games scheduled to air on national television.
2012 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES PRESEASON AWARDS
Offensive Player of the Year
Zach Line, Sr., RB, SMU
Defensive Player of the Year
Trent Mackey, Sr., LB, Tulane
Special Teams Player of the Year
Tracey Lampley, Sr., KR/PR, Southern Miss
First Team Offense
QB Nick Lamaison, Sr., UTEP
RB Charles Sims, Jr., Houston
RB Zach Line, Sr., SMU
OL Jordan Devey, Sr., Memphis
OL Joe Duhon, Sr., Southern Miss
OL Kevin Forsch, Jr., Houston
OL Theo Goins, Sr., UCF
OL Chris Hubbard, Sr., UAB
OL Will Simmons, Jr., East Carolina
WR Willie Carter, Jr., Tulsa
WR Aaron Dobson, Sr., Marshall
WR Darius Johnson, Sr., SMU
TE Luke Willson, Sr., Rice
First Team Defense
DL Michael Brooks, Sr., East Carolina
DL Jamie Collins, Sr., Southern Miss
DL Victor Gray, Jr., UCF
DL Margus Hunt, Sr., SMU
LB Jeremy Grove, So., East Carolina
LB Trent Mackey, Sr., Tulane
LB Taylor Reed, Sr., SMU
DB Bryce Callahan, So., Rice
DB D.J. Hayden, Sr., Houston
DB Kemal Ishmael, Sr., UCF
DB Dexter McCoil, Sr., Tulsa
First Team Special Teams
K Chris Boswell, Jr., Rice
P Ian Campbell, Sr., UTEP
KR Rannell Hall, So., UCF
PR Tracey Lampley, Sr., Southern Miss