Five Bulls earn all-conference honors, Kloss snubbed
Officially, it's not listed on the press release revealing the inaugural all-American Athletic Conference team, but it's there. And it's glaring.
Sift carefully through the first and second teams, and you get warmer. Then line by line, scroll down the individual honors -- offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, specialists of the year -- and voila, it jumps out at you.
The snub of the year, given to USF place-kicker Marvin Kloss.
The Groza Award finalist, whose 11 field goals of 40-plus yards led the nation, did not make the all-conference team as chosen by its 10 coaches. They opted for Memphis freshman Jake Elliott (first team) and UCF junior Shawn Moffitt (second)
Those two combined for 11 conversions of 40 or more yards.
Yet the Bulls weren't totally dissed by the coaches, who chose five USF players for the 54-member team released Thursday. The entire team can be found here.
Third-year sophomore DE Aaron Lynch, whose six sacks led the Bulls, was their only first-team pick. The 17th first-team all-conference pick in program history (encompassing three conferences), he's USF's first defensive player to earn first-team recognition since Terrell McClain in 2010.
TE Mike McFarland (23 catches, 288 yards) and senior TB Marcus Shaw (765 rushing yards, three TDs) were second-team offensive picks.
Leading tackler DeDe Lattimore (98 tackles) and senior DT Luke Sager (25 tackles, one fumble recovery) made the second-team defense.
UCF coach George O'Leary, who guided the Knights to an 11-1 record, outright conference title and Fiesta Bowl berth, was a unanimous coach-of-the-year choice.
Knights QB Blake Bortles (3,280 passing yards, four fourth-quarter comebacks) and Louisville DE Marcus Smith (12.5 sacks) were chosen the offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.
Memphis punter Tom Hornsey (45.2 yards per attempt) and Houston returner Demarcus Ayers (1,000 all-purpose yards) were named special teams players of the year. Houston freshman QB John O'Korn (2,889 passing yards, 26 TDs) was named rookie of the year.