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July 16, 2008

Eagles named to C-USA Preseason Football Team

Southern Miss players, Damion Fletcher, Gerald McRath and Ryan McKee, have been named to the preseason Conference USA football team while the Golden Eagles have been picked to finish third in the East Division in a vote by the league's 12 coaches and released Wednesday by the league office.

Two of the Golden Eagles, Fletcher and McRath, notched preseason Player of the Year accolades. Fletcher, a junior running back from Biloxi, Miss., grabbed offensive honors, while McRath, a redshirt junior linebacker from Power Springs, Ga., nabbed the defensive nod. McKee, a senior from Spanish Fort, Ala., got acknowledged by the league's coaches after earning second team honors last fall by the same voting group.

Fletcher, the 2007 Cellular South Conerly Trophy winner for the top collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi, needs 26 yards in 2008 to become only the fourth Southern Miss player to reach 3,000 rushing yards for his career.

McRath, who is the eighth Southern Miss defensive player to notch the league's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2007 over the league's 12-year history, is looking for his third straight 100-plus tackle season this year.

McKee returns to anchor the offensive line for the Golden Eagles as he leads that group in current consecutive starts at 27.

UCF, whose Joe Burnett was tabbed as the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year, has been chosen the top team in the East Division, followed by East Carolina, the Golden Eagles, Memphis, Marshall and UAB. Tulsa has been picked to win the West, followed by Houston, UTEP, Rice, SMU and Tulane.

Conference USA

Predicted Order of Finish

East
1. UCF 67
2. East Carolina 60
3. Southern Miss 49
4. Memphis 36
5. Marshall 27
6. UAB 13

West
1. Tulsa 72
2. Houston 59
3. UTEP 42
4. Rice 32
5. SMU 29
6. Tulane 18

2008 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES PRESEASON AWARDS


Offensive Player of the Year
Damion Fletcher, RB, Southern Miss

Defensive Player of the Year
Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss

Special Teams Player of the Year
Joe Burnett, PR, UCF

First Team Offense
QB Chase Clement, Sr., Rice
RB Tarrion Adams, Sr., Tulsa
RB Damion Fletcher, Jr., Southern Miss
OL Patrick Brown, Sr., UCF
OL Robby Felix, Sr., UTEP
OL Ryan McKee, Sr., Southern Miss
OL Doug Palmer, Jr., East Carolina
OL Brandon Pearce, Sr., Memphis
WR Duke Calhoun, Jr., Memphis
WR Jarett Dillard, Sr., Rice
WR Brennan Marion, Sr., Tulsa
WR Jeff Moturi, Jr., UTEP
TE Cody Slate, Jr., Marshall

First Team Defense
DL Albert McClellan, Sr., Marshall
DL Moton Hopkins, Sr., Tulsa
DL Philip Hunt, Sr., Houston
DL Zach Slate, Sr., East Carolina
DL C.J. Wilson, Jr., East Carolina
LB Joe Henderson, Sr., UAB
LB Gerald McRath, Jr., Southern Miss
LB Brian Raines, Sr., Rice
DB Will Dunbar, Sr., UAB
DB Kenneth Fontenette, Sr., Houston
DB Andrew Sendejo, Jr., Rice
DB C.J. Spillman, Sr., Marshall

First Team Special Teams
K Jose Martinez, Sr., UTEP
P Thomas Morstead, Sr., SMU
KR Darius Marshall, So., Marshall
PR Joe Burnett, Sr., UCF


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