Eight Raiders honored by Phil Steele

Johnson, Byard, Barber on 1st Team

June 3, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO - Phil Steele's Preseason All-Conference USA Team was released today and eight Middle Tennessee players were honored. The Blue Raiders had three on offense, four on defense and one for special teams.

First team players recognized were offensive tackle Darius Johnson, linebacker T.T. Barber and safety Kevin Byard. Johnson has started 25 straight games for the Blue Raiders, while Barber and Byard were the top tacklers on the team in 2013. Byard is the NCAA's active leader in interception return yards with 326.

Jordan Parker was the only second team member after leading MT in rushing last year with 745 yards and six touchdowns despite seeing limited time late in the year with a hip injury.

Linebacker Christian Henry and kick returner Reggie Whatley were both third team selections. Henry is coming off a career year while Whatley has proven to be a game changer his entire career as a returner and running back.

Wide receiver Marcus Henry and defensive tackle Patrick McNeil were fourth team picks by the publication. Henry is the leading returning receiver with 38 catches in 2013 and McNeil paced all linemen with 35 tackles.

The Blue Raiders open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 at home against Savannah State.

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