Franklin, Sabb, Smith named preseason all-conference by league coaches and media

Sun Belt coaches pick Blue Raiders to finish sixth

July 24, 2006 · MT Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS - Three Middle Tennessee football players were honored today as preseason first team All-Sun Belt selections as announced by the league office at its annual Football Media Days. Offensive lineman Germayle Franklin, linebacker J.K. Sabb, and punter Colby Smith were all voted to the first team by the leagues eight head coaches and selected media members.

As a team, the Blue Raiders were picked to finish sixth in the league as voted by the Sun Belt's eight head coaches. Louisiana-Lafayette was selected to represent the league in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 22, while Arkansas State was picked to finish second.

"This is a nice accomplishment by these players but it is not the ultimate prize," said Head Coach Rick Stockstill. "Each player would tell you they would prefer to be conference champions in November rather than have individual honors."

Franklin, a senior out of Waycross, Ga., was an all-conference pick in 2005 and enters the 2006 campaign having started in 28 straight games. The Blue Raiders' right tackle led all MT linemen last year with 764 snaps played while collecting a team and career-best 118 knockdowns.

Sabb, a senior from Augusta, Ga., was also an all-conference pick in 2005 after leading the Blue Raiders with 71 tackles and 13 tackles for lost yardage. A junior college transfer, Sabb started in 10 of 11 games and set the school record with five tackles for loss against North Texas.

Smith, who handles both punting and field goal kicking for Middle Tennessee, is a local product and former walk-on from nearby Franklin, Tenn. The senior was an all-conference placekicker in 2004 and an all-league pick as a punter in 2005. Smith averaged a career-best 42.1 yards a kick last season while placing a personal-high 19 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

The Blue Raiders report to camp on August 3 to begin preparing for the season opener against conference foe Florida International on August 31. Kickoff is set for 6 PM at Floyd Stadium and the game will be televised by ESPN Regional.

First place votes in parenthesis
1. Louisiana-Lafayette (3)
2. Arkansas State (2)
3. Troy (2)
4. North Texas
5. Louisiana-Monroe (1)
6. Middle Tennessee
7. Florida Atlantic
8. Florida International

QB: Jerry Babb, Louisiana-Lafayette
RB: Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette
RB: Jamario Thomas, North Texas
WR: Chandler Williams, FIU
WR: Johnny Quinn, North Texas
TE: Samuel Smith, FIU
OL: Tanner Jenkins, Arkansas State
OL: Brandon Cox, Louisiana-Lafayette
OL: Kyle Cunningham, Louisiana-Monroe
OL: Germayle Franklin, Middle Tennessee
OL: Dylan Lineberry, North Texas

DL: Jervonte Jackson, Florida Atlantic
DL: Antwan Barnes, FIU
DL: Tony Hills, Louisiana-Lafayette
DL: Jeremiah Chapman, North Texas
LB: Keyonvis Bouie, FIU
LB: J.K. Sabb, Middle Tennessee
LB: Phillip Graves, North Texas
DB: Tyrell Johnson, Arkansas State
DB: Kevin Payne, Louisiana-Monroe
DB: Chaz Williams, Louisiana-Monroe
DB: Aaron Weathers, North Texas

Special Teams
P: Colby Smith, Middle Tennessee
PK: Greg Whibbs, Troy
RS: Leodis McKelvin, Troy

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Jerry Babb, Louisiana-Lafayette

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Keyonvis Bouie, FIU

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.