Counts Tabbed Player of Year; Hicks Offensive ChoiceDecember 4, 2001 · MT Media Relations
"This is just one of the many things that makes being in a league great," head coach Andy McCollum said. "Our players always put team first, but it is still great to earn recognition like some of our guys did today. To have the Player of the Year and the Offensive Player of the Year in the same season is a great honor for our program and University."
Counts, the nation's leader in completion percentage, was chosen as the league's Player of the Year, while Hicks was tabbed the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Year. Counts, who owns every passing mark at Middle Tennessee, led the league in passing efficiency, completion percentage, touchdown passes and had the league's fewest interceptions.
Hicks, the nation's third leading scorer, won the Sun Belt rushing title with 1,143 yards and also led the league in points scored (148) and touchdowns (24). The junior had the SBC's top rushing effort of the season when he ripped Vanderbilt in the opener for 203 yards.
In all, the Blue Raiders had seven players named first team all-SBC while four earned second team honors. Co-Champion North Texas (5-6) had a league best 16 different players honored, while Middle Tennessee (8-3) had 11.
Blue Raiders who made the Sun Belt Conference's first team were Counts, Hicks, wide receiver Kendall Newson, offensive lineman Brandon Westbrook, defensive tackle Tanaka Scott, linebacker Scotty Brown, and defensive back Jykine Bradley.
North Texas swept the top remaining awards with linebacker Brad Kassell being chosen as the Sun Belt's Defensive Player of the Year, wide receiver Ja'Mel Branch was the Freshman of the Year and running back Kevin Galbreath was selected Newcomer of the Year.
Darrell Dickey was named the league's Coach of the Year after guiding the Mean Green to a 5-6 record and a share of the conference title with Middle Tennessee.
Following is a list of all award winners (*unanimous picks):
Offensive Line: Garry Johnson, Jr., Arkansas State, J.R. Randle, Jr., North Texas, Brandon Westbrook, So., Middle Tennessee, Tony Wragge, Sr., New Mexico State, Nick Zuniga, So., North Texas
Tight End: Jeff Muenchow, Jr., North Texas
Quarterback: Wes Counts, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Wide Receiver: Chris Lacy, Sr., Idaho, Kendall Newson, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Running Back: *Kevin Galbreath, Jr., North Texas, Dwone Hicks, Jr., Middle Tennessee
Defensive Line: *Brandon Kennedy, So., North Texas, Donald Malveaux, Sr., UL-Monroe, Joe Olivo, So., New Mexico State, Tanaka Scott, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Linebacker: *Brad Kassell, Sr., North Texas, Scotty Brown, Sr., Middle Tennessee, D'Wayne Taylor, Sr., New Mexico State
Defensive Back: Jykine Bradley, Sr., Middle Tennessee, Jonas Buckles, Fr., North Texas, Siddeeq Shabazz, Jr., New Mexico State, Charles Tillman, Jr., UL-Lafayette
Special Teams: Jason Ball, Sr., North Texas (placekicker and punter), James Hickenbotham, Jr., Arkansas State (Return Specialist and All-Purpose)
Offensive Line: Glen Elarbee, Jr., Middle Tennessee, Shalimar Jackson, Jr., New Mexico State, Jonathon Raush, Jr., UL Lafayette, Jake Scott, So., Idaho, Matt Turney, Jr., North Texas
Tight End: Jerry Pegues, Sr., Arkansas State
Quarterback: K.C. Enzminger, Sr., New Mexico State, John Welsh, Sr., Idaho
Wide Receiver: Nick Dugas, Jr., UL-Lafayette, George Marshall, Jr., North Texas
Running Back: Jonathan Adams, Sr., Arkansas State, Kenton Keith, Sr., New Mexico State
Defensive Line: Jonathan Bradley, Jr., Arkansas State, Brandon Kania, Fr., Idaho, Alex Pahulu, Sr., North Texas, Ron Paris, Sr., North Texas Linebacker: Ross Brupbacher, Jr., UL-Lafayette, Maurice Sonnier, So., UL-Monroe, Cody Spencer, So., North Texas
Defensive Back: Dedrick Buckels, Sr., UL-Monroe, Kyries Hebert, Sr., UL-Lafayette, Craig Jones, So., North Texas, Michael Woods, So., Middle Tennessee
Player of the Year: Wes Counts, QB, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Offensive Player of the Year: Dwone Hicks, RB, Jr., Middle Tennessee
Defensive Player of the Year: Brad Kassell, LB, Sr., North Texas
Freshman of the Year: Ja'Mel Branch, WR, North Texas
Newcomer of the Year: Kevin Galbreath, RB, Jr., North Texas
Coach of the Year: Darrell Dickey, North Texas
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