Dec. 11, 2008
BOCA RATON, FL- Five Florida Atlantic University football players recently were named to Phil Steele's Sun-Belt All-Conference team. Steele is known for his in-depth analysis of college football, which can be found in his annual "Phil Steele's College Football Preview" magazine or at www.philsteele.com.
First Team selections are junior tight end Jamari Grant (Jacksonville/First Coast High School), senior defensive lineman Jervonte Jackson (OpaLocka/North Miami Beach High School), senior linebacker Frantz Joseph (Fort Lauderdale/Fort Lauderdale High School), senior defensive back Corey Small (Naples/Gulf Coast High School) and senior safety Greg Joseph (Miami/Dr. Krop High School).
Grant, the only first-team offensive player from FAU, was the Owl's second leading receiver with 40 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns. Jackson, who has missed only one game in his career, recorded 40 tackles, two-and-a-half tackles for a loss, one-and-a-half sacks, four pass break-ups and one fumble recovery this year. Frantz Joseph leads the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and nation with 141 tackles and is second with 11.75 tackles per game. Joseph also had nine tackles for a loss, two pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and a half sack in 2008.
Safety Greg Joseph emerged as a starter in 2008 and earned first team honors. Joseph was second on the team with 90 while tallying two tackles for a loss, eight pass break-ups and one forced fumble. Cornerback Corey Small, who graduated from FAU last spring, was third on the team with 78 tackles, five tackles for a loss, five pass deflections, two forced fumbles and a team-leading four interceptions.
Owls named to the second team include junior quarterback Rusty Smith (Jacksonville/Sandalwood High School), junior receiver Cortez Gent (Cheifland/Cheifland High School), senior running back Charles Pierre (Orlando/Lake High Prep), and senior offensive lineman Brandon Jackson (Miami/Chaminade Madonna High School). Sophomore defensive back Tavious Polo (Fort Lauderdale/South Plantation High School) was named to the second team as a punt return specialist.
Smith continued a record breaking career at FAU with 2,918 pass yards and 22 touchdowns while completing 53.5 percent of his passes. He leads the SBC in pass yards per game with 243.2 per game. As the Owl's leading receiver, Gent hauled in 53 receptions for 837 yards and eight touchdowns and is ranked fourth in the SBC with 66.8 receiving yards per game.
Running back Charles Pierre had a stellar year with school records for rush yards in a game (194), season (937) and a career (2,992). Pierre is also second all-time with 23 rush touchdowns in a career and will have a chance of becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history at the upcoming Motor City Bowl.
Third team honors were given to FAU's junior tight end Rob Housler (Converse, Texas/Judson High School) as well as junior offensive lineman David Matlock (Lake Wales/Lake Wales High School), and senior defensive lineman Michael Hancock (Parkland/Coral Springs Christian). Housler had 29 receptions for 492 yards and four touchdowns and Hancock was fourth in the SBC with six sacks.
FAU (6-6) will continue its season against Central Michigan University (8-4) at the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, December 26 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN.