New Orleans (SBC) - Fan voting is now open for the Sun Belt Conference 10th Anniversary Football Team. Fans will have until December 5 to cast their ballots for who they think the top Sun Belt football players are over the last decade.
Fans can head to https://secure.sportssystems.com/events2/credapp.cfm to cast their vote. Fans are limited to one vote per e-mail address.
19 ASU alums and current head coach Steve Roberts are nominees on the 10th Anniversary team. The list of categories are below. The full list of nominees can be seen here: http://www.sunbeltsports.org/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=4100&ATCLID=204989001
Running Backs (Two will be selected)
Reggie Arnold (Arkansas State)
A three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, running back Reggie Arnold finished his career as Arkansas State's second all-time leading rusher with 3,933 yards. He entered his senior season ranked third in the nation in career rushing yards among active players and was a NationalChamps.net Honorable Mention Preseason All-America selection and Phil Steele's, Athlon's, Lindy's and Sporting News Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Arnold rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his first three seasons. He finished 2008 ranked No. 2 in the SBC in rushing yards among running backs (89.5 ypg) and No. 39 in the nation among all players. Finished his career ranked third all-time in SBC history in rushing yards (3,933) and fourth with 33 touchdowns. Had 17 career 100-yard rushing games, which is the second-most in ASU history. Arnold was a 2007, 2008 and 2009 Doak Walker Award candidate.
Danny Smith (Arkansas State)
The 5-9, 170-pound Smith, from Cleveland, Miss., established a new school and Sun Belt Conference season rushing record with 1,390 yards and 14 touchdowns on 254 carries in 2002. He shattered the old ASU mark of 1,250 yards held by Richie Woit for 50 years. Smith also caught 11 passes for 121 yards that season and was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team and as the SBC Offensive Player of the Year. He earned the Balton Memorial Award, given to the senior showing the most courage for the good of the team. Smith sits in second on the ASU single-season chart for most rushes with 254 as a senior and is tied for fourth for most rushing touchdowns in a season with 14 that same year.
Antonio Warren (Arkansas State)
Warren, a 2005 All-Sun Belt Conference first team selection, became just the third ASU running back to rush for 1,000 yards in two different seasons in 2005, capping off a spectacular regular season after returning from injury in the game at North Texas to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 30 seconds left in the game. For the year, the senior from Wynne rushed for 1,046-yards and scored six touchdowns and finished the regular season 13th in rushing in the NCAA at 116.22-yards per game despite missing two entire games and two halves of other games. Warren was named the Little Rock Touchdown Club MVP in 2004, and he went on to sign a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns in 2006. He holds the ASU record for most 100-yard rushing games in a season with 8 in 2005 and also sits atop the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games chart with 6 that same year.
Offensive Line (Five will be selected)
Matt Mandich (Arkansas State)
Mandich finished his career as a four-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, including the last two years as a first-team selection. He was on the 2008 Outland Trophy Watch List and Rotary Lombardi Watch List, while also being named a Preseason Sporting News Honorable Mention All-America selection. He was also listed among the SBC's "Top-10 NFL Talent" by Lindy's magazine. He won the Gary Withrow Award in both 2007 and 2008. Mandich started every game of his senior season and helped lead the ASU offense to the most yards in school history, breaking the 57-year old school record. He helped lead the ASU offense to SBC rankings of No. 2 in rushing offense, No. 3 in total offense and No. 3 in scoring offense.
Tanner Jenkins (Arkansas State)
Jenkins started all 11 games he played at center for the Red Wolves and anchored an offensive line that helped ASU rank second in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing and fourth in total offense. He was a Preseason All-Sun Belt selection and was named to the second team. The Baton Rouge, La. native was on the 2006 Dave Rimington Trophy List, Rotary Lombardi Watch List and the Outland Trophy Watch List. A three-year starter for ASU and a first-team All-Sun Belt pick in 2005 and 2006, he helped his team produce the nation's 27th ranked rushing offense. Jenkins started 29 of the last 31 games and saw action in all 35 games following his redshirt freshman year in 2003. He was the first two-time winner of the Gary Withrow Award.
Steven Gibbs (Arkansas State)
Gibbs, an All-Sun Belt Conference first team selection in 2004, was a fixture on the offensive line as a four-year starter at Arkansas State and was honored with the Gary Withdrow Award in 2004. He went on to sign a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks in 2005.
Kimani Jones (Arkansas State)
Jones helped to protect quarterback Elliot Jacobs' blind side at right tackle during the 2003 season and helped Arkansas State to become one of the most feared rushing offenses in the conference that year. Jones also epitomized toughness on the team after breaking a toe during practice, only to go right back out to the field the very next series of downs during the summer. He was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team in 2003 and won the Gary Withrow Award that same year.
Garry Johnson (Arkansas State)
Johnson was a three-time first team all-conference selection, earning All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2001 and 2002 and All-Big West honors following ASU's last season in that league in 2000. He was a second-team selection his freshman season in that league. The 6-4, 306-pound Johnson started 46 consecutive games during his career. Among Johnson's many accomplishments while at ASU was that he did not allow a sack after his freshman year, he was the first ASU player ever to be on the Lombardi Award list (2001 and 2002) and Outland Trophy list (2002), and he helped pave the way for record-breaking running back Danny Smith's 1,390-yard season in 2002 while anchoring a line that allowed a league-low seven sacks. Johnson was the first ASU player to participate in the Rotary Gridiron Classic All-Star game in 2003, and he went on to sign a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals that year.
Defensive Line (Four will be selected)
Myron Anderson (Arkansas State)
Anderson saw his most productive season in 2005 after registering 13 tackles for loss and 49 tackles overall. He started 22 straight games for Arkansas State, played in 39 consecutive games and ranked among the top defenders in school history in career tackles for loss. He was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2005. At the New Orleans Bowl that season, Anderson set a career high in tackles in a game with nine in his final collegiate contest as well while being credited with three tackles for loss.
Jon Bradley (Arkansas State)
For Bradley, his 2003 All-Sun Belt Conference selection marked the third straight year to be selected to the all-conference team, two as a first-team member. Bradley's legacy as an interior lineman was his ability to tackle the opposition in the backfield. For his career, Bradley ended with 38.5 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback sacks and six forced fumbles to go along with his 223 tackles over the course of his career at ASU. He was invited to participate in the inaugural Las Vegas All-Star Bowl and played in the 65th Blue-Gray All Star Football Classic in 2003. He went on to sign a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 and has played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions.
Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)
The Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year selection in 2009, Carrington finished his senior campaign with nine sacks that tied the most of the season and the eighth most all-time by an ASU player. He also recorded a team-high 14.5 tackles for loss in 2009, which was the third most in the league. Carrington completed his career with 21.5 sacks for the second most ever by an ASU player and the fourth most in Sun Belt history, while also piling up 40.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 146 total tackles during his career with the Red Wolves. The Tupelo, Miss. native had one of the most dominating seasons in the history of the Sun Belt Conference in 2008 when he was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year after recording 53 tackles, 10.5 sacks and one interception. He ranked tied for 14th in the nation in sacks and seventh in tackles for loss. His first of three consecutive all-conference seasons came in 2007 as a sophomore when he recorded 38 tackles and five tackles for loss on an ASU defense ranked No. 1 in the league. He was named the league's 2009-10 Male Student-Athlete of the Year and went on to be selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Corey Williams (Arkansas State)
Williams was selected as a first team All-Sun Belt Conference performer in 2002 and to the second team in 2003. In 2003, Williams suffered through an injury-filled season but was still a force on the defensive line when on the field, commanding double-teams throughout the year. Williams ended as one of the most prolific quarterback sack'ers in school history, with 14.5 sacks during his career. The 6-4, 290-pound Williams recorded 47 tackles,including nine sacks for 64 yards in losses during his junior campaign. He finished with 12 stops for minus 76 yards, had 13 quarterback hurries, and broke up two passes. He also caused a fumble. He started 11 games before missing the final two with an ankle injury.
Linebackers (Three will be selected)
Les Echols (Arkansas State)
Echols was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2002 and received second team honors the previous year. Echols posted the most tackles by a linebacker at ASU since the early 1980's after compiling 123 total tackles in 2002. He ended his career with 324 career tackles and ended the season with 17.5 tackles for loss to rank 29th nationally in that category.
Defensive Backs (Four will be selected)
Jonathan Burke (Arkansas State)
Burke was chosen to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team in 2003. Burke set a new SBC record for interceptions in a season that year after picking off nine passes and finished fourth nationally. The conference's Newcomer of the Year in 2002, his selection marked the second straight year for Burke to be picked as a all-conference member. He ranked fifth on the tackle chart with 66 stops and broke up six passes on the season that year and was named to the JCFootball.com Junior College Transfer All-America Team after his stellar season.
Khayyam Burns (Arkansas State)
A three-time All-Sun Belt selection, Burns posted a career-high 97 tackles, six tackles for loss, four pass break-ups and a fumble recovery in 2007. At the time, he was the Sun Belt's second all-time leading tackler with 331 stops. He finished second on the team in tackles and is ranked fourth in the Sun Belt in tackles with 8.1 per game. He recorded a career-high 13 tackles against North Texas this season and had three straight games with double-figure tackles. He posted at least five tackles in every game and had at least eight in eight games. Alongside Tyrell Johnson, he was part of a safety combination that posted a combined 191 tackles. He was part of a defensive backfield that ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference and 19th in the nation in pass defense. Burns went on to sign a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008.
Tyrell Johnson (Arkansas State)
Johnson, the 2007 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and SBC's all-time leader in tackles with 363 total stops, recorded 94 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a career-high six interceptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles. He broke the Sun Belt record for career interception return yards with 309 and finished as the Sun Belt's third all-time leader in interceptions with 13. He ranks seventh in the Sun Belt in tackles (7.8 per game), third in interceptions (0.5 per game) and sixth for passes defended (0.83 per game). He was the only player in the Sun Belt ranked among the top 10 players for tackles, interceptions and passes defended. He recorded a season-high 14 tackles against Texas, posted double-figure tackles three times and had at least seven stops in eight games. He ranked tied for 10th in the nation in interceptions. Johnson participated in the 2007 Hula Bowl and was the recipient of the 2008 Terry Gwin Award presented by the ASU Lettermen's Club. He was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Kicker (One will be selected)
Josh Arauco (Arkansas State)
A first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2008, Placekicker Josh Arauco ended his career as the ASU and Sun Belt Conference all-time leader in field goals made (58) and points by kicking (288). He ranked among the top three players in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring by kick and field goals made in 2009. Arauco kicked a season-high four field goals, which tied his career high, against Florida Atlantic and made multiple field goals in four games during the 2009 season. He was a second-team NationalChamps.net Preseason All-America selection in 2009 after finishing the 2008 season as one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation's top kicker. In 2008, he made 17-of-20 field goals, which included a school-record 15 in a row and ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 12 in the nation in field goals made (1.55 pg). He kicked four field goals to help Arkansas State stun Texas A&M 18-14 before 78,691 fans at Kyle Field. He was a Sporting News Honorable Mention All-America selection as a freshman after he ranked second in the nation in field goals made by all freshman kickers.
Eric Neihouse (Arkansas State)
A first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2005, placekicker Eric Neihouse finished his career as the top scoring kicker in school history. He hit 123 of 125 PAT's in his career, and connected on 78 consecutive PAT's to set a new school record and is third all-time at ASU in career field goals with 37. He booted a career-high 50 yard field goal against ULM in 2005 and also had a pair of 49 yard field goals during his career. Neihouse also handled the kickoff and punting duties during his senior season. He booted two game winners during his senior season, defeating ULL as time expired with a 35-yarder and beating FAU with a field goal in overtime to break a scoreless tie on the game's final play.
Return Specialist (One will be selected)
James Hickenbotham (Arkansas State)
A two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a junior and a senior in 2001 and 2002, kick returner James Hickenbotham returned 22 kickoffs for 483 yards as a senior, an average of 22 yards per return. He also returned 23 punts for 247 yards during his senior season. He finished his career as ASU's kickoff return leader with 1,746 yards and his return average of 23.9 yards still ranks as second in the ASU record books. He returned a kickoff 98 yards against North Texas in 2000 to record the third-longest return in ASU history, and in 2001 added a 93 yarder against Idaho that ranks seventh. His 247 punt return yards in 2002 remains ranked as fourth-best in ASU history.
Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Reggie Arnold (Arkansas State)
Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)
Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Head Coach
Steve Roberts (Arkansas State)
When Steve Roberts took over as the Arkansas State head coach Dec. 21, 2001, he inherited a program that had won just 13 games in the previous five seasons, and quickly turned the team into force to be reckoned with in the Sun Belt. He immediately established respect for ASU when he won six games in his first season at the helm of the Red Wolves' program, up from just two in the previous season. Three years later, Roberts earned the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year award after leading ASU to the SBC title and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl. Since arriving at ASU, Roberts has directed the football program to its most victories over an eight-year span since 1985-92, and ASU continues to add to the achievements that began upon his arrival. Arkansas State went undefeated at home in the 2005 season and is now 29-10 all-time at ASU Stadium under Roberts. A-State has been bowl eligible three of the last five seasons, and Roberts' coached teams have posted non-conference victories over teams such as Army, Memphis, SMU and Texas A&M. ASU's 2008 win over the Aggies was one of the biggest wins in school history as A-State picked up its first victory over a BCS conference school since joining the FBS. Attendance has also shown dramatic improvement during the Roberts era. A stadium-record crowd was of 30,427 was on hand to watch ASU play Memphis in 2004 and 11 of the 15 crowds that have topped 20,000 at ASU Stadium have come during the Roberts era.