Coaches pick Herd 4th

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

IRVING, Texas — The Conference USA coaches gave Marshall its just rewards, they just didn’t give the Thundering Herd a vote of confidence.

Junior defensive end Albert McClellan was named the C-USA preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and senior center Doug Legursky was a first team choice on the offensive team.

But Marshall as a team was tabbed fourth among the six teams in the East Division with 39 points.

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Marshall finished 5-7 last season and has another grueling pre-conference schedule that includes Miami, Fla., Cincinnati, and West Virginia.

Southern Mississippi got 69 points and was first in the East Division poll. Second was East Carolina with 48 points and Central Florida was third with 47 points.

After Marshall came Memphis (30 points) and Alabama-Birmingham (19).

Houston edged Tulsa for first place in the West Division 63-62. Houston is the defending C-USA champion, losing a 44-36 shootout against South Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

Southern Methodist had 48 points, Texas-El Paso 37, Rice 30, and Tulane 12.

As for the all-conference picks, McClellan and Legursky were the only two Herd players honored.

McClellan was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season with 77 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, and 11.5 sacks.

Legursky is a preseason Rimington, Outland, and Lombardi awards candidate. He has played in all 35 of his collegiate games.

The offensive player was Rice wide receiver Jarret Dillard who had 91 catches for 1,247 yards and 21 touchdowns last year.

Central Florida’s punt returner Joe Burnett was the top special teams player.