Nine Pirates earn all-conference honors|Harris and Smith receive first-team designation
Published 10:49 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By ECU Sports Information
IRVING, Texas East Carolina had nine players named to the All-Conference USA Football Teams, according to an announcement from the league office Tuesday. Headlining the Pirates selections were senior first-team honorees Dwayne Harris and Willie Smith. Harris received first-team designation as both a wide receiver and punt returner while Smith was an offensive line pick.
ECU had a trio of juniors on the second team in wide receiver Lance Lewis, defensive back Emanuel Davis and kicker Michael Barbour. Receiving an honorable mention nod were junior quarterback Dominique Davis, senior running back Jonathan Williams, senior defensive lineman Josh Smith and senior linebacker Dustin Lineback.
Harris has been a key component to the Pirates record-breaking offensive season. He is the Conference USA leader in receptions per game (7.8) while standing third in receiving yards per game (87.9). He is also among the best at the FBS level, ranking seventh in receptions per game and 19th in total receiving yards (1,055) and receiving yards per game. His 93 catches and 1,055 receiving yards in 2010 have established East Carolina single-season records. Among league players this year, he is tied for third with four 100-yard receiving games. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native has also added 10 touchdown receptions, the second most in a year in ECU history.
After a two-year break from punt-return duties, Harris is averaging a league fourth-best 10.3 yards per runback. His 56-yard punt return in the fourth quarter at UAB set up the game-winning score and was a career long. For the game, he averaged 32.0 yards per return, the best mark in C-USA this season. His 75 return yards against N.C. State are the second most in a contest by a league player in 2010.
Willie Smith, the starting left tackle, has helped the Pirates to a No. 7 national ranking in passing offense (319.3 ypg) and 12th in scoring (38.2 ppg). He has provided pass protection and running holes for ECU to establish program records for offensive touchdowns (58), points in Conference USA games (346) and total points (458). Smith is the leader of an offensive line that stands 21st nationally in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.2).
Lewis trails only Harris in the league rankings in receptions per game with 6.5. Lewis is also fourth in receiving yards per game (81.6) after recording a career-high 154 against SMU.
In three of his last four games, he has surpassed the 100-yard threshold. Lewis established his personal best at UCF with 11 receptions, three shy of the ECU single-game record and the second most by a Conference USA receiver in 2010. He has also hauled in 13 touchdown receptions this season, the most by a Pirate receiver in program history and tied for the ninth most by a C-USA receiver in a year. Five of Lewis 13 TD grabs are for 30 or more yards after ECUs entire 2009 receiving corps had four TD receptions of 30 or more yards.
Emanuel Davis, the secondary anchor of the East Carolina defense, is tied for 11th in Conference USA with 0.8 pass breakups per game. In this seasons eight league matchups, he tallied eight pass breakups and 31 tackles. Davis is also the team leader in passing tackles with 30 and stands fifth on the squad in solo hits with 33. He finished one pass breakup shy of his career high with three at UAB and forced his first fumble of the season against SMU.
Barbour has made 13 of his last 14 field goals and had converted 12 straight before a 50-yard miss at the end of the first half against SMU. This season, he is 14-of-16 (87.5%) on field-goal tries with seven makes from 35 or more yards. His longest is from 52 yards, which he drilled during the second quarter at UAB. It was the longest by an ECU kicker since Ben Hartmans 52-yard make at UTEP, Oct. 13, 2007. Barbour has set the ECU single-season record for points scored by a kicker with 96 (14 FGs, 54 PAT), surpassing Hartmans 94 (20 FGs, 34 PAT) in 2009. Barbours 54 PAT are also a program single-year record.
Dominique Davis, the trigger man for the Pirates offense, has set East Carolina single-season records for attempts (552), completions (358), passing yards (3,699) and touchdown passes (36). The 36 TD tosses are tied for the sixth most in a year by a C-USA quarterback. Helping him reach 36 were the UAB, Navy and Tulsa games, when he tied the school record with five touchdown passes. Davis is one of four quarterbacks at the FBS level averaging over 300 yards passing per contest (308.2) and has thrown for more than 100 yards in a quarter 13 times. He is the league leader in 300-yard passing games this season with eight, three more than any other C-USA quarterback. Following strong performances against Tulsa and N.C. State, Davis was selected as the Sept. 6 and Oct. 18 league offensive player-of-the-week.
Williams ranks fifth in C-USA, and 30th at the FBS level, in all-purpose yards per game (137.0) and eighth in the league in rushing yards per game (70.5). He set the ECU single-season record for receptions by a running back with 48 and recorded a personal-best 115 receiving yards at UAB, including a 77-yard grab. Williams also scored the game-winning touchdown against the Blazers on an 11-yard catch with 5:48 remaining in the contest. He has added a career-best 10 rushing touchdowns and a trio of 100-yard ground games this year. Most recently, he scored on a pair of two-yard runs in the first quarter against SMU.
Despite all the injuries to the ECU defensive line, Josh Smith has been a consistent presence in the lineup. He is tied for fourth on the team, and alone in first among the linemen, with 62 tackles. He leads the Pirates with 10.0 tackles for loss (-27 yards) and is third in sacks with 2.0 (-7 yds.). He has been at his best in the last four games, making 8.0 tackles for loss (-20 yds.), including a career-best 3.5 against SMU. He averaged 5.3 tackles per C-USA tilt, tallied a season-best three quarterback hurries against N.C. State and recovered his first career fumble against Memphis.
The Fourth Annual College Football Rudy Awards nominee Lineback is averaging 9.3 tackles per game, tied for sixth in Conference USA and 34th in the FBS rankings. His 111 tackles, 50 solo hits and 79 stops on running plays this season lead the team and are career highs. In eight C-USA games, he booked 79 tackles, 9.9 per game, and six tackles for loss (-13 yds.). Earlier this season, Lineback had four-straight games with 10 or more tackles and made a career-high and ECU season-high 14 stops against N.C. State and SMU, including 11 in the opening half.
The Pirates have a chance to add to their league honors Wednesday, Dec. 8, when the individual awards are released. Conference USA will conclude its 2010 season sending six teams to bowl games for the fifth time in six seasons.