Oct. 16, 2008
Ten University of Cincinnati football players were named to the mid-season Phil Steele All-BIG EAST team, it was announced Wednesday.
Six players earned first-team honors, three were named to the second team and one to the third. UC's six first-team honorees is the most among BIG EAST schools.
Defensive end Connor Barwin (Hazel Park, Mich./U. of Detroit Jesuit), defensive tackle Terrill Byrd (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain), kick returner Mardy Gilyard (Bunnel, Fla./Flagler Palm Coast), wide receiver Dominick Goodman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain), punter Kevin Huber (Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas), and corner back Mike Mickens (Huber Hts., Ohio/Wayne) were all named to Steele's first team.
Barwin, a converted tight end, leads the BIG EAST and ranks tied for ninth, averaging 1.0 sacks per game. He has six sacks on the campaign, along with 24 tackles, a team-high 7.5 tackles for loss, three pass break ups, three quarterback hurries and a pair of blocked kicks. He was named BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 6 after blocking two punts, one for a safety, in UC's 33-10 win at Marshall.
Byrd, a 2007 all-American, has 19 tackles on the season along with a half-tackle for a loss. His blocking up the middle has enabled UC's defensive ends to tally nine sacks in the past three games and 13 on the season.
Gilyard leads the league and ranks eighth nationally with a 30.79 yards per kickoff return average. He ran a kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown at Oklahoma, breaking a 14-year UC drought without a kick return touchdown. As a receiver, he's caught 32 balls for 500 yards and five touchdowns. He ranks second in the BIG EAST in receiving yards per game (83.33) and fourth in the league in receptions per game (5.3).
Goodman has 38 catches on the season for 461 yards and five scores. He ranks third in the conference averaging 6.33 receptions per game and fourth in the league in receiving yards per game (76.83). He is one touchdown away from tying UC's all-time record for receiving scores.
Huber, a 2007 consensus all-American, has a 45.9-yard punting average which ranks fifth in the nation. He has dropped 11 punts inside the 20, including six of nine against Rutgers on Oct. 11. He earned BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Oct. 13.
Mickens leads the team with 39 tackles, including 26 solo stops. He has 1.5 tackles for loss, seven pass break ups, and leads the BIG EAST and ranks 12th nationally averaging 1.5 passes defended per game. He has two interceptions on the season, one which went back for a 72-yard touchdown. Mickens is tied for the UC career lead in interceptions with 12.
Gilyard also earned second-team accolades as a wide receiver along with offensive guard Trevor Canfield (Cincinnati, Ohio/Western Hills), and linebacker Corey Smith (Salem, N.J./Salem).
Canfield has been a stalwart on the offensive line, starting 31-straight games. He recently accepted an invitation to play in the 84th East-West Shrine Game this coming January in Houston, Texas.
Smith is fourth on the UC squad with 32 tackles. His 5.0 tackles for loss ranks third on the team. He also has two pass break ups and a blocked kick.
Linebacker Ryan Manalac (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) earned a spot on the third team. His 37 tackles, including 20 solo stops ranks second on the team.