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Herd trio on preseason C-USA team

IRVING, Texas — Marshall University placed three players on the Conference USA Preseason all-conference team that was announced Tuesday.

Tight end Cody Slate, defensive end Albert McClellan and linebacker Mario Harvey were all voted to the preseason team by the league’s 12 head coaches.

Slate, a senior tight end and Mackey Award candidate, enters 2009 with an extensive resume that includes 2,012 career receiving yards and 19 career touchdown receptions. The 6-4, 225-pound star needs only 88 receiving yards to become the all-time leading receiver among tight ends in school history.

On Saturday, Slate was a unanimous first-team All C-USA selection by league media members in a poll conducted by Ted Lewis of the Times Picayune.

Slate and Houston junior quarterback Kase Keenum were the only two players to be unanimous selections at their respective positions.

McClellan, a senior defensive end, is coming off another strong season. He was a 2008 first-team All-Conference USA selection after missing the 2007 campaign due to a knee injury.

McClellan was voted the 2006 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks that season. He enters the 2009 season with 30 career tackles for loss and 17 career sacks. He currently ranks seventh on Marshall’s all-time career sack leaders list.

McClellan was named first-team preseason all-conference by league media members on Saturday and finished second in preseason defensive player of the year voting.

Harvey, a hard-nosed linebacker who is currently listed as a senior, but expected to earn back a year of eligibility due to his academic progress and play as a junior this season, is coming off of a tremendous 2008 campaign.

Harvey led Marshall with 107 total tackles last season and was credited with seven tackles for a loss (minus 42 yards) and 4.5 sacks. In addition to this, he intercepted a pass, forced two fumbles and recorded two fumble returns.

Harvey was also named to the media’s All-Conference USA first-team this weekend.

Keenum, the 2008 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, was chosen to repeat that honor, according to the league’s 12 head coaches. East Carolina senior DL C.J. Wilson was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year, while Tulsa return specialist Damaris Johnson earned Special Teams Player of the Year honors.

East Carolina, which placed a league-high three defensive players on the preseason All-Conference team, tied with Southern Miss for the most overall preseason selections with five.

2009 C-USA FOOTBALL COACHES

PRESEASON AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Year

Case Keenum, QB, Houston

Defensive Player of the Year

C.J. Wilson, DL, East Carolina

Special Teams Player of the Year

Damaris Johnson, KR, Tulsa

First Team Offense

QB Case Keenum, Jr., Houston

RB Bryce Beall, So., Houston

RB Damion Fletcher, Sr., Southern Miss

OL Sean Allen, Sr., East Carolina

OL Carl Barnett, Sr., Houston

OL Ryan Hebert, Sr., Southern Miss

OL Tyler Holmes, So., Tulsa

OL Dominik Riley, Jr., Memphis

OL Jake Seitz, Sr., UAB

WR DeAndre Brown, So., Southern Miss

WR Tyron Carrier, So., Houston

WR Emmanuel Sanders, Sr., SMU

TE Cody Slate, Sr., Marshall

First Team Defense

DL Anthony Gray, Jr., Southern Miss

DL Albert McClellan, Sr., Marshall

DL Bruce Miller, Jr., UCF

DL C.J. Wilson, Sr., East Carolina

LB Mike Bryan, Sr., Tulsa

LB Mario Harvey, Sr., Marshall

LB Nick Johnson, Sr., East Carolina

DB Van Eskridge, Sr., East Carolina

DB Eddie Hicks, Sr., Southern Miss

DB James Lockett, Sr., Tulsa

DB Andrew Sendejo, Sr., Rice

First Team Special Teams

K Ben Hartman, Sr., East Carolina

P Ross Thevenot, Jr., Tulane

KR Damaris Johnson, So., Tulsa

PR D.A. Griffin, Jr., Memphis