DENTON, Texas (12/5/07) Three North Texas football players have been named to the 2007 Sun Belt All-Conference football team in a vote by the league’s coaches and media. The Mean Green placed two players on the first team and one player on the second team in addition to quarterback Giovanni Vizza being honored as the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.
After breaking numerous Sun Belt and North Texas records, junior wide out Casey Fitzgerald was honored as one of the two receivers selected to the first team offense. Fitzgerald finished the season ranked sixth in the NCAA in receiving yards per game with 110.2 and third with 9.25 receptions per game. Starting all 12 games for North Texas at receiver, Fitzgerald was one of only two receivers in America this season with at least 100 catches, 1,200 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He broke Sun Belt single-season records in receiving yards (1,322), receptions (104), receiving touchdowns (12) and receiving yards per game (114.9). His 104 receptions and 1,322 yards also set North Texas records.
Jeremiah Chapman, a senior defensive end from China Spring, Texas, was selected to the first-team defense. Chapman led the Sun Belt with 17 tackles for loss and was fourth in sacks with five. He recorded a tackle for loss in 10 of the Mean Green’s 12 games. Chapman tallied a career-high 16 tackles including 2.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in win over Western Kentucky earning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors for his effort. The 16 tackle-performance was the third-best single-game effort in the Sun Belt this year and the best by any North Texas defender this season. Chapman had earned second team all-conference honors as both a sophomore and junior.
Vizza, a true freshman from San Antonio, becomes only the fourth Mean Green football player to earn Freshman of the Year honors in the program’s history. Vizza led the nation among true freshmen in pass attempts (383), pass completions (223), passing yards (2,388) and passing touchdowns (16). He set the NCAA record for most passing touchdowns by a freshman with eight TD tosses against Navy. In eight starts, Vizza became all-time leader in passing yards by a freshman at North Texas, besting Andrew Smith’s mark of 1,206 set in 2002.
In his first season as a starter, center Kelvin Drake earned second team all-conference accolades for the Mean Green. Drake, a sophomore from Galveston, Texas, started all 11 games for North Texas under center. He graded out as the top offensive lineman in six of the Mean Green’s 12 games. Drake anchored a Mean Green offensive line that saw two running backs combine for over 1,000 yards on the season.
Wide receiver Brandon Jackson and linebacker Craig Robertson were selected as honorable mention all-conference recipients. Jackson ranked second in the Sun Belt in receptions per game and was third in receiving yards per game. Since being inserted into the starting lineup mid-way through the season, Robertson recorded 48 tackles and led North Texas with five interceptions.
For the complete 2007 Sun Belt All-Conference football team please visit sunbeltsports.org.