Dec. 8, 2010
Conference USA announced its 2010 Players of the Year today, as selected by the league's 12 head football coaches. C-USA is completing its 15th football campaign by sending six teams to bowl games for the fifth time in six years.
East Carolina senior WR/KR/PR Dwayne Harris was named the recipient of the Conference USA Most Valuable Player Award. The 2009 Special Teams Player of the Year has set ECU single-season records with 1,055 receiving yards and 93 receptions, becoming just the second Pirate to ever record over 1,000 receiving yards in a year. Harris has 10 touchdown catches on the season, the second-most in school annals, trailing only teammate Lance Lewis' 13 TD grabs this season. He is ECU's career leader in receptions (260) and receiving yards (2,933) and is the only Pirate to ever record 2,000 receiving yards. Harris is also second on the program list in career TD receptions with 20. On special teams, he ranks fourth in C-USA in punt return average (10.3) in 2010, while also returning 34 kickoffs for 700 yards (20.6 avg.). Harris' all-purpose yardage average of 171.0 per game ranks third in the league and fifth among all FBS players. Harris earned first team All-Conference USA honors as both a wide receiver and a punt returner.
Tulsa junior QB G.J. Kinne was named Offensive Player of the Year, marking the 11th time in the last 13 years that a quarterback has won the award. He ranks first in C-USA for total offense (322 ypg) and second for pass efficiency (141.8) and passing yards per game (275.6 ypg). Kinne has led Tulsa to the No. 1 ranking in C-USA in rushing offense, scoring offense and total offense. He has five 300+ yard passing games and one 400+ yard game this year. Kinne has completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,307 yards and 28 TDs, and has rushed for 557 yards and 7 TDs.
Defensive recognition went to UCF senior DE Bruce Miller, who becomes the first C-USA player to win that honor in back-to-back years since Adalius Thomas of Southern Miss in 1998-99. He owns the UCF career record for sacks with 34.0, a figure that is tied for third in C-USA history. Miller leads the nation in career sacks among active players, and is fifth all-time in the FBS (sacks record started being kept in 2000). The three-time All-Conference selection has recorded 55 tackles, 7.0 sacks and a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss this season. Miller also registered 18 quarterback hurries, forced two fumbles and recorded two interceptions, returning them both for touchdowns.
The Special Teams Player of the Year award went to Tulsa junior kick returner/punt returner Damaris Johnson. He leads the nation for the second straight year in all-purpose yards with a 191.8-yard per game average. Johnson has five 200+ all-purpose yard games and has 39 plays for over 20+ yards this year. He became the FBS and C-USA record-holder for career kickoff return yards in only his junior year and he currently has 3,308 career KOR yards. In 2010, many opponents have kicked away from Johnson, as he has returned only 29 kicks on 67 kickoffs. He has produced 795 yards, one TD and a 27.4-yard average on those 29 returns. Johnson currently ranks 24th in the FBS for kickoff return yards and 19th for punt returns this season. He also has a team-leading 771 receiving yards and three TDs, while rushing for 462 yards, a 9.2 average and 6 TDs. Johnson earned first team all-conference honors as a punt returner and second team recognition as a wide receiver and a kick returner.
The league's Freshman of the Year honor went to UCF QB Jeff Godfrey. He is 9-2 as a starter since taking over the Knights quarterback reigns on Sept. 18, completing 68.4 percent of his passes, tops among all FBS quarterbacks. Godfrey is 143-of-209 for 2,042 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He has also rushed for 546 yards and 10 scores, a figure that leads all C-USA quarterbacks. Godfrey's QB rating of 165.28 on the season leads all FBS freshman and all C-USA signal-callers, while ranking eighth among all FBS quarterbacks. With 2,042 passing yards, he will enter the AutoZone Liberty Bowl needing just 30 passing yards to break Daunte Culpepper's all-time UCF record for passing yards by a freshman.
Junior QB Dominique Davis of East Carolina garnered the league's Newcomer of the Year award. He has established East Carolina single-season records in touchdown passes (36), attempts (552), completions (358) and passing yards (3,699) this fall. The 36 TD passes are tied for the sixth-most in a year by a Conference USA quarterback, while his attempts and completions this season are the second and third most, respectively, by a C-USA signal-caller. Davis leads C-USA in passing yards per game (308.2) and stands second in total offensive yards per game (320.1). He is one of four QBs at the FBS level averaging 300+ passing yards per game. Davis has accounted for 45 of the team's 58 offensive touchdowns and leads all FBS players in points per game responsible for (22.7) and completions per game (29.8) while tying for the lead in total touchdown passes (36).