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Five Raiders make Phil Steele's All-C-USA Preseason Team

Whatley on first team

May 31, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO - Phil Steele recently released his Preseason All-Conference USA team and five Middle Tennessee players made the list. Kick returner Reggie Whatley, offensive linemen Josh Walker and Darius Johnson, safety Kevin Byard, and linebacker Roderic Blunt were all honored.

Whatley, a redshirt junior, was the only Blue Raider to garner first team accolades. Whatley, who returned a kick 96 yards for the game-winning score at WKU last season, averaged 30.5 yards per return to rank fourth nationally.

Walker was put on the second team after starting all 12 games a year ago and not allowing a sack. The senior collected 78 knockdowns and was part of a line that ranked second nationally in fewest sacks allowed and paved the way for three different 100-yard rushers.

Johnson, Byard, and Blunt made third team All-C-USA. Johnson registered 74 knockdowns and allowed just one sack as a freshman last year, while Byard earned Freshman All-American honors. Byard tied for third on the team with 74 tackles to go with a team-best four interceptions, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a hurry while equaling the school record with two interception returns for touchdowns.

Blunt, a senior, turned in a career-best 75 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs, two pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery. Second among linebackers with 550 snaps played, Blunt started all 12 games in 2012.

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