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Five Raiders honored by Phil Steele

Walker, Barber earn first team recognition

December 23, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Phil Steele's Publication announced the 2013 Postseason All-Conference USA Teams today and five Blue Raiders added to their accolades. Middle Tennessee's (8-4, 6-2) five selections include two first team, one second team and two third team honorees.

Senior guard Josh Walker and sophomore linebacker T.T. Barber were the first team selections. Barber racked up a personal-best 112 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, to lead the Blue Raiders. Barber also has garnered All-Conference USA First Team honors from the league coaches and won the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 2.

Walker has been a dominate force on the MT offensive line which anchored one of the top rushing attacks in the country. Middle Tennessee averaged 208 yards on the ground and 236 in conference play. Walker also received Second Team All-C-USA honors from the coaches.

Kevin Byard was the lone player on the second team. Byard, a preseason All-C-USA first team pick, led Middle Tennessee with five interceptions, five pass breakups and tallied a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. The sophomore cornerback had a career-high 92 tackles and returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns.

Starting left tackle Darius Johnson and punter Josh Davis received third team recognition. Johnson, the Orlando, Fla., product, also received All-C-USA Honorable Mention honors and started all 12 games, while ranking second on the offensive line in snaps played this season.

Davis, who like Byard and Johnson, also received All-C-USA Honorable Mention, is Middle Tennessee's all-time leader in punting average, and has dropped 55 career punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In 2013, Davis drilled 16 kicks of 50 or more yards, which includes a long of 70 yards on the way to a 41.9 yard per punt average.

The bowl bound Blue Raiders will start their journey to Fort Worth, Texas Dec. 26 in preparation for the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30.

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