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Cards Marcus Smith named AAC Defensive Player of the Year

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AAC Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smith Highlights 11 Louisville All-League Picks

Marcus Smith was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2013

On the Web: http://www.gocards.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121113aaa.html

Contact: Rocco Gasparro, Rocco@GoCards.com, (502) 852-0102

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Senior Marcus Smith, the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, highlights the University of Louisville football team's 11 all-conference selections, the league announced Wednesday.

 

Louisville's 11 picks tied conference champion UCF for the most in the league. That total is the most in school history since the Cardinals had 11 earn all-BIG EAST honors in 2006.

 

Smith, a first-team honoree, led the league decisively in total sacks in conference play with 10.5 and sacks per game at 1.31. The Columbus, Ga., native currently ranks seventh on the school's charts with 12.5 sacks overall and needs just half a sack to tie for fifth most in a season. Smith is second in the league in tackles for loss per game both overall (11.5) and per game (1.44). Smith also forced three fumbles and blocked a kick.

 

Smith is the first conference defensive player of the year since Elvis Dumervil collected the award from the BIG EAST in 2005.

 

The Cardinals also had three members of their secondary earn first-team accolades: Hakeem Smith, Calvin Pryor, and Charles Gaines.

 

Smith, a senior, who ranked in the top 20 in the league in passes defended, became the first Louisville player since Ronnie Ghent (2000-03) to earn all-conference honors each of their four years. For the season, the Jonesboro, Ga., native intercepted three passes this season – two in conference play – and recorded his lone sack against league-foe Rutgers.

 

Teamed with Smith, Pryor made Louisville's safety tandem arguably among the best in the country. The hard-hitting junior earned his second career conference accolade after compiling 69 tackles, 5.5 which resulted in a loss of yardage, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. In conference play, Pryor ranked 16th in tackles for all positions with 50, or 7.1 per game.

 

Gaines, the converted receiver, proved to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. He ranked fifth in the conference in passes defended at one per game. Of his eight passes defended, four resulted in interceptions. His four picks are the second-best total in the league, and he is only one of two players – the other being Louisville's Terell Floyd – to have returned an interception for a touchdown in conference action.

 

Offensively, the Cardinals had five earn all-conference status, three of which garnered first-team accolades: wide receiver DeVante Parker and linemen Jamon Brown and Jake Smith.

 

Parker, through seven games, had 412 yards receiving and a team-high five touchdowns on 27 receptions. He averaged 15.3 yards per catch. Brown and Smith earned the starting nod in each of the team's eight conference games as did offensive guard and second-team pick John Miller.

 

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who earned second-team honors, finished conference play, completing 189 of his 272 attempts – a conference best 69.5 percentage – for 14 touchdowns and 2,309 yards. The Miami, Fla., native finished second in the AAC in efficiency rating at 155.6.

 

Lorenzo Mauldin and Preston Brown, who were named to the all-conference second team, each ranked in the top 15 in at least one conference category.

 

Mauldin, who lined up on the opposite side of Marcus Smith on the defensive line, totaled six sacks, or 0.75 per game, for the second-best mark in the conference. Mauldin's 7.5 tackles for loss was good enough to tie for 12th in the conference. Preston Brown, who led the team with 59 tackles in league action, tied for 11th in the conference with 7.4 tackles per game.

 

Louisville (11-1, 7-1 AAC) concludes the 2013 campaign on Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl against Miami (Fla.). Kickoff at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

 

2013 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL AWARDS

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (Jr., Oveido, Fla.)

 

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville (Sr., Columbus, Ga.)

 

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Demarcus Ayers, RS, Houston (Fr., Lancaster, Texas)

Tom Hornsey, P, Memphis (Sr., Geelong, Victoria, Australia)

 

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

John O'Korn, QB, Houston (Fr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

 

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR

George O'Leary, UCF

 

ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Pos.       Player                                 School

WR        Deontay Greenberry            Houston

WR        DeVante Parker                   Louisville

OT         Eric Lefeld *                        Cincinnati

OT         Jamon Brown                      Louisville

OG         Jordan McCray                    UCF

OG         Justin McCray                     UCF

C           Jake Smith                          Louisville

TE          Blake Annen                        Cincinnati

TE          Tyler Kroft                           Rutgers

QB         Blake Bortles                      UCF

RB         Storm Johnson                   UCF

RB         Paul James                         Rutgers

K           Jake Elliott                          Memphis

RS         Ralph David Abernathy IV    Cincinnati

RS         Demarcus Ayers                  Houston

 

DEFENSE

Pos.       Player                                 School

DL         Jordan Stepp                      Cincinnati

DL         Marcus Smith                      Louisville

DL         Martin Ifedi                          Memphis

DL         Aaron Lynch                        USF

LB          Terrance Plummer                UCF

LB          Yawin Smallwood                UConn

LB          Tyler Matakevich                 Temple

CB         Jacoby Glenn                      UCF

CB         Charles Gaines                    Louisville

S           Calvin Pryor                        Louisville

S           Hakeem Smith                     Louisville

P           Tom Hornsey                      Memphis

 

* unanimous selection

 

ALL-CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Pos.    Player                            School

WR     Anthony McClung           Cincinnati

WR     J.J. Worton                    UCF

WR     Jeremy Johnson             SMU

OT      Chris Martin                    UCF

OT      DeAnthony Sims             Houston

OG      Sam Longo                    Cincinnati

OG      John Miller                      Louisville

C        Betim Bujari                    Rutgers

TE       Mike McFarland              USF

QB      Teddy Bridgewater          Louisville

RB      William Stanback            UCF

RB      Marcus Shaw                  USF

K        Shawn Moffitt                 UCF

RS      Janarion Grant                Rutgers

 

DEFENSE

Pos.    Player                            School

DL      Silverberry Mouhon         Cincinnati

DL      Shamar Stephen             UConn

DL      Lorenzo Mauldin             Louisville

DL      Luke Sager                     USF

LB       Greg Blair                       Cincinnati

LB       Preston Brown                Louisville

LB       DeDe Lattimore              USF

CB      Deven Drane                  Cincinnati

CB      Zach McMillian                Houston

CB      Kenneth Acker                SMU

S        Clayton Geathers            UCF

S        Trevon Stewart                Houston

P        Richie Leone                   Houston

 

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