DENTON, Texas North Texas placed 14 players on the 2004 Sun Belt All-Conference Football Team, including seven players on the first team, the league office announced today. The Mean Green also took home individual honors for the Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Mean Green head coach Darrell Dickey is still the only coach to ever be recognized as the Sun Belt Coach of the Year after earning his fourth-straight award as the league’s top coach. Dickey is the only current coach in Div. I-A to win four straight league championships in the same conference and his troops have now won 25 consecutive Sun Belt games dating back to the 2001 season.
Running back Jamario Thomas took home three individual awards along with being named first team all-conference. The true freshman from Longview, Texas was named Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after setting both the North Texas and Sun Belt single-season rushing record with 1,709 yards and one game remaining. He has already tied or set three NCAA rushing records and needs just 155 yards to break the all-time NCAA single-season freshman rushing record of 1,863 set by Ron Dayne of Wisconsin in 1996.
Joining Thomas on the first team offense is senior center Andy Brewster who is the only North Texas player ever to block for four-straight 1,000-yard rushers and the North Texas record holder for career starts with 49. It was Brewster’s second consecutive appearance on the first team offense. Tight end Andy Blount made his first appearance on the first team offense after leading all Sun Belt tight ends with 27 receptions and 414 yards. Junior kicker Nick Bazaldua also made his initial appearance on the first team after finishing second in the conference in scoring and making 11 of his 12 field goal attempts against Sun Belt opponents. Sophomore Johnny Quinn was a first team selection as an all-purpose player as well as a second team selection as wide receiver. Quinn led the Mean Green in both punt returns and receiving for the second consecutive year.
Senior safety Jonas Buckles was a first team defensive selection, making him the only Sun Belt player to earn all-conference honors in each of the past four seasons. Senior defensive end Adrian Awasom joined Buckles on the first team defense, making his third all-conference appearance and his second straight on the first team. In Sun Belt games, Awasom led the league in both sacks (1.4 per game) and tackles for loss (2.5 per game). Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware edged Awasom for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Sophomore offensive guard Dylan Lineberry was named the Sun Belt’s Newcomer of the Year as well as a second team all-conference selection after spending his first season with the Mean Green as a full-time starter and helping Thomas to his record-setting season. Fellow linemate Lonnie Chambers was also a second team selection. Senior quarterback Scott Hall became a two-time all-conference honoree by earning second-team recognition. Hall tied a school record by throwing just two interceptions all season and led the conference in passing efficiency against league opponents. Senior defensive linemen Evan Cardwell and Michael Pruitt were second team selections as was senior defensive back Markeith Knowlton.
"It is an honor when people around the league recognize the effort of this team," Dickey said. "Every player is deserving of their awards and it is a tribute to the team that we have this many honorees ."
North Texas Players on the Sun Belt Football All-Conference Team
First Team Offense
Offensive Line Andy Brewster, Sr., Midland, Texas; Tight End - Andy Blount, Sr., Bandera, Texas; Running Back Jamario Thomas, Fr., Longview, Texas; Kicker - Nick Bazaldua, Jr., DeSoto, Texas; All-Purpose Player - Johnny Quinn, So., McKinney, Texas
First Team Defense
Defensive Line Adrian Awasom, Sr., Fort Bend, Texas; Defensive Back Jonas Buckles, Sr., Houston, Texas
Second Team Offense
Offensive Line - Lonnie Chambers , So., Humble Texas; Dylan Lineberry, Sophomore, Houston, Texas; Wide Reciever - Johnny Quinn, So., McKinney Texas; Quarterback - Scott Hall, Sr., Schertz, Texas
Second Team Defense
Defensive Line - Evan Cardwell, Sr., Hutto, Texas; Michael Pruitt, Sr., El Reno, Okla.
Player of the Year - Jamario Thomas; Offensive Player of the Year - Jamario Thomas; Freshman of the Year - Jamario Thomas; Newcomer of the Year - Dylan Lineberry; Coach of the Year - Darrell Dickey