Frogs Place 18 On All-MWC Football Team
Dec. 3, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Led by defensive end and unanimous selection Jerry Hughes, TCU tops all league members with a school-record 18 players earning All-Mountain West Conference honors this season.
Hughes was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the nation with an MWC-record 14 sacks and six forced fumbles while placing in the top 10 with 18.5 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries. He also has two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
A finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award, Hughes is the first TCU player to receive the MWC's top defensive honor and the first Frog to be a Conference Defensive Player of the Year since linebacker LaMarcus McDonald in Conference USA in 2002.
Eight of TCU's 11 defensive starters were either first- or second-team All-MWC with two others being named honorable mention. The Frogs (10-2), ranked 11th in the BCS Standings, top the nation in run defense (48.7 yards per game) while placing second in total defense (215.1 yards per game), scoring defense (10.9 points per game) and sacks (41). TCU is fourth in pass defense efficiency (96.1).
The Frogs' six first-team selections included four defensive starters in Hughes, linebackers Robert Henson and Jason Phillips and safety Stephen Hodge. Center Blake Schlueter represented the offense, while Jeremy Kerley was the return specialist.
Second-team honorees featured four more defensive starters: safety Steven Coleman, nose tackle Cody Moore, defensive end Matt Panfil and cornerback Rafael Priest. Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse was also a second-team pick.
TCU's seven honorable-mention picks included return specialist Aaron Brown, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, quarterback Andy Dalton, punter Anson Kelton, cornerback Nick Sanders, defensive tackle James Vess and wide receiver Jimmy Young.
Phillips is the first defensive player in MWC history, and the second overall, to be a first- or second-team selection all four years. With 79 stops, he is TCU's leading tackler for the third time in four seasons.
Henson had been an honorable-mention All-MWC pick the previous three campaigns. He's totaled a career-best 73 tackles, his fourth straight season with at least 64 stops. Hodge, the nation's sack leader for defensive backs in 2007, has a career-best 70 tackles including seven for loss.
Schuleter, who appeared on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, anchors an offensive line that has enabled TCU to set single-season school records for points (420) and touchdowns (54).
Kerley gives the Frogs the first-team All-MWC return specialist all four seasons they have been in the MWC (Cory Rodgers, 2005; Brian Bonner, 2006-07). Kerley ranks 11th nationally with a 14.5 punt return average.
Coleman, Moore and Panfil, all seniors, receive their first All-MWC honor. Coleman tops TCU with three interceptions while placing second with 12 passes defended. Moore and Panfil had career-best seasons. Moore's 6.0 sacks equal the total from his first three seasons combined. Panfil's 9.0 tackles for loss double his career output entering the 2008 campaign.
Priest, an honorable-mention All-MWC pick in 2007, has 10 pass breakups.
Newhouse has started every game the last two seasons at left tackle and is instrumental in TCU leading the nation in time of possession (35:05).
Brown is second in the nation with a 31.9 average on kickoff returns. His 85-yard touchdown against Wyoming represented TCU's first kick return for a score since 2005. He also had returns of 75 yards at Oklahoma and 56 versus BYU.
Cannon helps pave the way for the Frogs to have the nation's 13th-best rushing attack (215.7 yards per game) despite not having a player rank in the top 100 individually. Dalton has completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 2,405 yards with 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Kelton placed over half his punts (27-of-50) inside the opponent 20-yard line with just seven touchbacks. He averaged 42.0 yards on the season.
Sanders is tied for second in the MWC in passes defended with his team-best total of 13. He had two interceptions in TCU's 32-7 win over BYU. Vess has started all 12 games and is one of the unsung heroes of the TCU defense.
Young's 926 yards receiving, on 54 receptions, mark the second-best single-season total in TCU history. He is just 87 yards shy of breaking Reggie Harrell's 2003 mark of 1,012. Young has four 100-yard receiving games on the year, including a 226-yard effort with three touchdowns against Wyoming.