May 23, 2011
ATHENS, Ohio-The Ohio football squad had 11 representatives on Phil Steele's preseason All-MAC Team, which is part of his 2011 College Football Preview that will hit newsstands on June 7th.
Ohio offensive lineman Joe Flading, linebacker Noah Keller, kicker Matt Weller and punter Paul Hershey all earned first-team honors, while wide receiver LaVon Brazill and offensive linemen A.J. Strum and Eric Herman were selected to the second team. Tight end Jordan Thompson, punt returner Travis Carrie and linebacker Eric Benjamin were tabbed as third-team honorees and Carl Jones was slotted onto the fourth team.
Flading, named a first-team All-MAC selection last year, played the most snaps of any lineman (752) and led the squad in average grade (1.89 out of 2.0), and decleaters (16). Keller was named to the 2010 Nagurski Award Watch List before having his season cut short due to injury. Also named a 2010 Preseason All-American by SI.com, NationalChamps.net and Consensus Draft Services (cdsdraft.com), the Kearney, Neb. native had 26 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in just three games. Weller made 11 of 14 field goals last year and tied for fifth in the league with 73 points. Hershey ranked third in the MAC in punting with a 41.0-yard average last year and recorded the longest punt in the league this season with a 72-yard boot against Bowling Green. He forced 18 fair catches and dropped 14 inside the 20 with just one touchback. Ten of his punts went for 50 yards or more on the season.
Brazill was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List prior to last season. His exploits as a punt returner are well known as he claimed four 2010 preseason All-America honors from Sporting News, Phil Steele, NationalChamps.net and Consensus Draft Services (cdsdraft.com). Like Keller, his 2010 season was also cut short by injury, as he had 12 catches for 78 yards in just three games. Strum, a second-team All-MAC selection in 2010, moved from guard to tackle and posted a 1.80 grade with 30.5 pancakes and six decleaters in a season where he was slowed by injuries as well (452 plays). Herman led the offensive line with 65 pancakes and was second on the team in plays (697) and decleaters (13).
Thompson, a second-team All-MAC selection by the league's coaches last year, snared 21 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Carrie finished second in the MAC and 25th nationally in punt return yardage (10.4) in 2010. Benjamin is the team's top returning tackler from a season ago, as he amassed 56 with three sacks, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Jones finished 2010 with 40 stops, five tackles for loss which included 3.5 sacks, one interception, one pass breakup, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
The Bobcats will begin the 2011 season with a trip to New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 3rd.