12 Football Players Earn Coaches All-Conference USA Honors

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior running back Matt Forté was named first-team All-Conference USA on a vote by league coaches after rushing for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2007.
Senior running back Matt Forté was named first-team All-Conference USA on a vote by league coaches after rushing for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2007.

Dec. 4, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Twelve Tulane University football standouts claimed Coaches All-Conference USA honors - including first-team honoree Matt Forté and All-Freshman Team member Andrew Nierman - the league announced Tuesday based on the voting panel of conference head coaches.

Forté and Nierman earned their respective honors for the second time in as many weeks as the pair claimed the same titles last Tuesday when C-USA announced its Media All-Conference Team. Offensive lineman Aryan Barto, Troy Kropog and Michael Parenton, defensive linemen Antonio Harris, Reggie Scott and Avery Williams, linebacker Evan Lee, free safety David Skehan, kick returner Ade Tuyo and deep snapper Craig Gelhardt, meanwhile, were all named All C-USA honorable mention.

A senior running back from Slidell, La., Forté set Tulane single-season records with 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns on 361 carries while ranking second on the team with 32 receptions for another 282 yards through the air. His rushing total and 177.2 rushing yards per game average ranks second in the NCAA, and he also ranks second nationally in scoring with 11.7 points per game.



Along the way, Forté eclipsed the former Green Wave single-season rushing record of 1,421 set by Mewelde Moore in 2001. His 23 touchdowns in 2007 and 44 career scores are both tops in Tulane history, and his 266 career points (44 TDs, 1 2-point PAT) ranks third in school history and tops among non-kickers.

A two-time C-USA and Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honoree, Forté posted five of Tulane's Top 10 single-game rushing performances in 2007, including a C-USA record 342-yard effort on Oct. 20 at SMU which also stands as the top individual rushing performance by an NCAA Division I-Bowl Subdivision student-athlete this season. His five touchdowns against Southeastern Louisiana and Rice are also Tulane single-game records and tie a C-USA mark.

Nierman, a rookie from Harvey, La., and 2007 graduate of John Curtis Christian High, became the first Tulane freshman offensive lineman to start every game since 1998 when Corey Sewell started all 12 games during the Green Wave's march to the C-USA title and Liberty Bowl Championship. As the starting right guard, he graded 88 percent for the season and recorded 112 knockdown blocks.

Nierman joined Barto, Kropog and Parenton to anchor a line that paved the way for Forté to become the first 2,000-yard rusher in the nation since the 2004 season and rank fifth in C-USA in sacks allowed (18). Barto started all 12 games at center and was twice named a game captain. A senior form Houston, Texas, he posted 148 knockdown blocks and graded out 89 percent for the year.

Parenton also started all 12 games in 2007, lining up at left guard, and was a member of the Lombardi Award Watch List as one of the nation's premier linemen. A junior from Thibodaux, La., Parenton has now started all but one game in his collegiate career and graded at 91 percent while posting 139 pancakes in 2007.

Kropog started all 11 games he played in this season, missing just the UAB game due to an injured shoulder. A junior from Metairie, La., he posted an 89 percent grade for the year and tallied 85 knockdown blocks.

Defensively, Harris, Scott and Williams combined to help the Green Wave rank second in C-USA in rush defense (131.09 ypg) and sacks (2.92 spg) and finish fourth in total defense (363.17 ypg). A second-team All C-USA honoree in the media voting, Harris posted a career-high 49 tackles (26 solo, 23 assists), six sacks and eight tackles for loss. His sack total was tied for fourth in C-USA and tied for 79th in the NCAA.

Lining up primarily at defensive tackle after spending most of his previous three seasons at end, Harris helped the Green Wave defense lead C-USA in rushing yards against - which ranks 40th nationally - second in tackles for loss - which ranks 27th in the NCAA - and fourth in total defense. A senior from Shreveport, La., Harris had six five-plus tackle performances in 2007, including a career-high 11 tackles - including three sacks - against Southeastern Louisiana.

Scott shook off a pair of shoulder injuries which hampered him his first two years at Tulane to post 27 tackles (18 solo, nine assists), including nine for losses totaling 43 yards. His four sacks tied for second on the club, and he chipped in a pair of pass break-ups and a team-best three forced fumbles.

A junior from Charlotte, N.C., Scott had nine multiple-tackle outings, including a career-best four at Army and at East Carolina. Half of his tackles at Army were behind the line of scrimmage.

Williams led the Wave with 11 tackles for loss and ranked tied for second on the team with four sacks while tallying 45 tackles (26 solo, 19 assists), two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. A senior from of Houston, Texas, Williams had 10 multiple-tackle outings in 2007, including seven stops against Memphis and a career-best 11 tackles vs. Tulsa.

Lee started all 12 games at middle linebacker for Tulane and led the team with 99 tackles (48 solo, 51 assists). Eight of his stops were behind the line of scrimmage for 31 yards lost, including a pair of sacks for minus-16 yards, and he also broke up one pass.

A junior from Miami, Fla., Lee posted seven or more tackles 10 times in 2007, including 10 stops vs. Tulsa, 12 vs. Houston and a career-best 13 vs. LSU. His season tackle total ranks ninth in C-USA and tied for 77th in the nation.

The lone member of the Green Wave secondary to earn Coaches All C-USA honors, Skehan paced the team with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries while ranking second on the team with 10 pass break-ups and fourth in tackles with 66 (39 solo, 27 assists). His pick total ranked tied for sixth in C-USA and tied for 55th nationally.

A junior from The Bronx, N.Y., Skehan had five or more tackles six times, including eight vs. Mississippi State and at SMU, and a season-high nine in the season finale at East Carolina.

Tuyo claimed honorable-mention kick return honors after leading the Wave with 697 yards on 30 returns in 2007. A senior from Houston, Texas, Tuyo averaged 23.2 yards per return, which ranks sixth in the league and 74th in the NCAA.

He had 106 yards on five returns vs. Houston, 117 yards on four returns vs. UTEP and a career-best 124 yards on six returns at SMU. Tuyo had three returns longer than 40 yards as a senior with a 43 yarder at SMU, a 47 yarder against Houston and a career-long 54-yard return vs. UTEP. In addition to his return duties, Tuyo also ran the ball 21 times for 72 yards and a touchdown while hauling in eight passes for an additional 44 yards.

Gelhard, meanwhile, served as team's deep snapper on all punt, field goal and PATs in 2007. He was named Tulane Special Teams Player of the Week after successfully snapping 10 punts and a PAT try while posting a tackle and downing a punt at the 3-yard line vs. LSU.

A junior from Tallahassee, Fla., Gelhardt was perfect on snaps throughout the season with no bounces or high snaps. In addition to his snapping duties, he also posted five special teams tackles.