Six Blue Raiders honored by Phil Steele

Jones, Dunbar make first team All-SBC list

December 11, 2007 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Phil Steele announced his All-Americans and All-Conference members on Tuesday and six Middle Tennessee players received recognition from the popular magazine.

Blue Raiders who made up Steele's 2007 All-Sun Belt team were: P David DeFatta, OT Franklin Dunbar, WR Desmond Gee, DE Tavares Jones, OL Brandon Nix, and DE Erik Walden.

First team selections were Dunbar and Jones. Dunbar started all 12 games for the Blue Raiders at left tackle and led all linemen with 840 snaps. The Waycross, Ga., native played 80 or more snaps in three straight games during the season and will enter play in 2008 having started in 30 straight games.

Jones led the Blue Raiders in tackles with a career-best 61. The disruptive defensive end also paced the team in sacks with a personal-high seven to go along with 9.5 tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, and two pass breakups. The Swainsboro, Ga., product ended his career with 12.5 sacks to rank third all-time.

Earning second team honors were DeFatta, Nix, and Walden. DeFatta, who was snubbed by the Sun Belt's coaches and media, is coming off a great season where he averaged 40.9 yards a punt. More importantly, DeFatta led the league with 28 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

Nix, a senior, played in all 12 games and earned 11 starts. The Talladega, Ala., native was second among linemen with 835 snaps played including 80 or more in three straight games in the middle of the season.

Despite missing two games with an injury, Walden impressed the voters with his relentless pressure even though he faced numerous double teams. Walden, who ended his career as the conference's second all-time leading sack man with 22.5, had 46 total tackles in 2007 to finish just two shy of his career mark. The Dublin, Ga., native had 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, and a safety in 2007.

The lone Blue Raider on the honorable mention list was Gee, who earned first team honors from the SBC for the second year in a row as an all-purpose performer. The true definition of all-purpose, Gee gained yards as a wide receiver, running back, kick returner, and punt returner in 2007 on his way to leading the team with 1,323 all-purpose yards. The Greenville, Fla., native was second on the team with a career-best 29 receptions.

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