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MAC Announces 2011 Post Season Awards

Huskie QB Chandler Harnish Wins the Vern Smith Leadership Award


Cleveland, Ohio – A total of 30 repeat selections from last year’s All-MAC team highlights this year’s postseason football awards in the Mid-American Conference.

Northern Illinois senior quarterback Chandler Harnish (Bluffton, Ind.) was tabbed as the winner of the 30th Vern Smith Leadership Award, as voted on by the conference head coaches. The award is presented annually to the conference’s top football player in honor of Vern Smith, the former University of Toledo Athletic Director.

Harnish led the Huskies to a 7-1 conference record, 9-3 overall, as he has rushed for 1,351 yards and passed for another 2,692 yards this season. Harnish ranks 15th in the country in rushing yards per game and also in passing efficiency. Harnish has totaled 2,955 career rushing yards and 8,420 career passing yards and needs only 45 rushing yards to become only the third quarterback in FBS history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 8,000 yards in a career.

In other awards voted by the MAC News Media Association, Eastern Michigan Head Coach Ron English was named as the MAC Head Coach of the Year, while Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish was honored as the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. Western Michigan defensive lineman Drew Nowak was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. Ohio kicker Matt Weller was named MAC Special Teams Player of the Year and Bowling Green freshman running back Anthon Samuel was named MAC Freshman of the Year.

English, in his third year as head coach of Eastern Michigan, orchestrated a dramatic turnaround for the Eagles program with a 6-6 overall record, 4-4 in conference play. In his previous two seasons at Eastern Michigan, the Eagles finished 2-10 in 2010 and were 0-12 in 2009. Eastern Michigan had the third best defense in the MAC and the fourth best rushing offense in the conference and finished one game shy of being bowl eligible.

Harnish, who set a school single-season record with 4,043 total yards of offense, will finish his career in DeKalb with 13 school career offensive records. Earlier this year, Harnish became one of only ten players in FBS history to rush for over 200 yards and pass for over 200 yards in the same contest, when he passed for 203 yards and rushed for 229 yards in a win over Western Michigan.

Nowak, a native of Green Bay, Wis., tied for the lead in the MAC with 8.5 sacks and ranked second with 20 tackles for loss. In addition, Nowak totaled 83 tackles on the year, which ranked third on the team and also tied for 20th in the conference.

Weller, a native of Twinsburg, Ohio, leads the conference in with 22 field goals and his long of 49 yards is tied for the longest field goal made by any kicker in the conference this season. Weller set a career-high five field goals in a 29-28 win at Bowling Green on Nov. 16 to help the Bobcats clinch the MAC East Division.

Samuel, a native of Opa Locka, Fla., rushed 144 times for 844 yards and five rushing touchdowns. His 844 yards rushing set a school record for the most rushing yards by a freshman. Samuel also had five games this season where he rushed for over 100 yards.

Toledo led the way with five first team selections, followed by Northern Illinois, Temple and Bowling Green with four first team selections. Overall, Ohio set the pace with 11 honorees, followed by Temple with 10 honorees, while Northern Illinois added nine. Ball State, Toledo and Western Michigan each had eight honorees.

Temple featured two student-athletes represented for their third consecutive first-team All-MAC selections. Running back Bernard Pierce has garnered first team accolades since his freshman year in 2009, and has consistently responded with first-team All-MAC honors as a sophomore and now his junior season along with his 25 rushing touchdowns. His Temple teammate Adrian Robinson was named a first team All-MAC selection as a sophomore in 2009 at defensive end. Robinson was named first-team All-MAC in 2010 at outside linebacker as a junior, before once again being named first-team All-MAC as a defensive end as a senior.

There were a total of nine student-athletes named to their second consecutive first team selection: QB Chandler Harnish (Northern Illinois), C Scott Wedige (Northern Illinois); OL Trevor Olson (Northern Illinois); OL Joe Flading (Ohio), TE Evan Rodriquez (Temple), WR Jordan White (Western Michigan), Eric Page as both wide receiver and kick returner (Toledo), WR Kamar Jorden (Bowling Green) and DT Roosevelt Nix (Kent State).

2011 MAC Specialty Award Winners

Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner: QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois

Coach of the Year: Ron English, Eastern Michigan

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois

Defensive Player of the Year: DL Drew Nowak, Western Michigan

Special Teams Player of the Year: K Matt Weller, Ohio

Freshman of the Year: RB Anthon Samuel, Bowling Green


2011 All-MAC First Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois @

Center – Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois @

Offensive Linemen – Mike VanDerMeulen, Toledo %

Offensive Lineman – Trevor Olson, Northern Illinois @

Offensive Lineman – Joe Flading, Ohio @&

Offensive Linemen – Pat Boyle, Temple

Tight End – Evan Rodriquez, Temple @

Wide Receiver – Jordan White, Western Michigan @

Wide Receiver – Eric Page, Toledo @!

Wide Receiver – Nick Harwell, Miami #

Wide Receiver – Kamar Jorden, Bowling Green @

Running Back - Bernard Pierce, Temple @ ^

Running Back –Branden Oliver, Buffalo

Placekicker –Mathew Sims, Northern Illinois


2011 All-MAC First Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker –Aaron Morris, Ball State

Outside Linebacker – Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Inside Linebacker – Brian Wagner, Akron !

Inside Linebacker - Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green #

Down Lineman – Roosevelt Nix, Kent State @

Down Lineman – Adrian Robinson, Temple @ ^

Down Lineman – Chris Jones, Bowling Green %

Down Lineman – Drew Nowak, Western Michigan

Defensive Back – Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan %

Defensive Back – Dayonne Nunley, Miami

Defensive Back – Desmond Marrow, Toledo

Defensive Back – Sean Baker, Ball State #

Punter – Brian Schmeidebusch, Bowling Green


2011 All-MAC First Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – Eric Page, Toledo @

Punt Return Specialist –Eric Page, Toledo


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2011 All-MAC Second Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Alex Carder, Western Michigan %

Center – Zac Kerin, Toledo

Offensive Lineman - Brandon Brooks, Miami # !

Offensive Lineman – Jordan Hansel, Ball State

Offensive Lineman – Brian Winters, Kent State %

Offensive Lineman – Eric Herman, Ohio

Tight End – David Blackburn, Central Michigan

Wide Receiver – LaVon Brazill, Ohio !

Wide Receiver – Briggs Orsbon, Ball State

Wide Receiver – Perez Ashford, Northern Illinois

Wide Receiver – Marcus Rivers, Buffalo

Running Back – Adonis Thomas, Toledo #

Running Back – Jasmin Hopkins, Northern Illinois

Placekicker – Matt Weller, Ohio ^


2011 All-MAC Second Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker – C.J. Malauulu, Kent State

Outside Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead, Temple

Inside Linebacker – Travis Freeman, Ball State

Inside Linebacker – Noah Keller, Ohio ! +

Down Lineman – Sean Progar, Northern Illinois @

Down Lineman – Tremayne Scott, Ohio

Down Lineman – Nate Ollie, Ball State

Down Lineman – Brad Ohrman, Eastern Michigan

Defensive Back – Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan

Defensive Back – Josh Pleasant, Kent State

Defensive Back – Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

Defensive Back – Travis Carrie, Ohio

Punter – Brandon McManus, Temple


2011 All-MAC Second Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green

Punt Return Specialist – Jamill Smith, Ball State



2011 All-MAC Third Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Tyler Tettleton, Ohio

Center – Ben Bojicic, Bowling Green

Offensive Lineman – Dann O’Neill, Western Michigan

Offensive Lineman – Wayne Tribue, Temple

Offensive Lineman – Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

Offensive Lineman – A.J. Strum, Ohio #

Tight End – Garrett Hoskins, Eastern Michigan

Wide Receiver – Nate Palmer, Northern Illinois

Wide Receiver – Titus Davis, Central Michigan

Wide Receiver – Cody Wilson, Central Michigan #

Wide Receiver – Chleb Ravenell, Western Michigan

Running Back – Donte’ Harden, Ohio

Running Back – Matt Brown, Temple #

Placekicker – John Potter, Western Michigan %


2011 All-MAC Third Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker – Justin Cudworth, Eastern Michigan

Outside Linebacker – Jerrell Wedge, Miami

Inside Linebacker – Luke Batton, Kent State

Inside Linebacker – Ryan Kennedy, Miami

Down Lineman – Austin Brown, Miami #

Down Lineman – Morkeith Brown, Temple

Down Lineman – Freddie Bishop, Western Michigan

Down Lineman – T.J. Fatinikun, Toledo %

Defensive Back – Latarrius Thomas, Eastern Michigan

Defensive Back – Kevin Kroboth, Temple

Defensive Back – Luke Wollet, Kent State

Defensive Back – Marlon Pollard, Eastern Michigan

Punter – Scott Kovanda, Ball State


All-MAC Third Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – Donte’ Harden, Ohio

Punt Return Specialist – Terrell Jackson, Buffalo @



@ 2010 First team All-MAC

# 2010 Second team All-MAC

% 2010 Third team All-MAC


^ 2009 First team All-MAC

! 2009 Second team All-MAC

& 2009 Third team All-MAC


~ 2008 First team All-MAC

+ 2008 Second team All-MAC