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
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
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
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
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
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