Dec. 8, 2006
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Bobcat rookies Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) and Ernie Hodge (Dublin, Va.) have been named to The Sporting News Freshman All-America Team. Garrett was a third-team selection as a return specialist, while Hodge was an honorable mention pick at defensive end.
Garrett heads into bowl season ranked first in the MAC and fifth in the nation with a 15.26 punt return average. He is tops in the country among freshman in that category. Garrett's 351 punt return yards in 2006 are the third most in school history. Through only 13 games, Garrett is already just 17 punt return yards shy of cracking the Bobcats' all-time top 10. Garrett also had the highest kickoff return average on the squad. He averaged 25.0 yards per kick return with 250 yards on 10 attempts.
A two-time MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week, Garrett also etched his name in the Ohio single-game record book. He scored his first collegiate touchdown with an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown against Western Michigan and his 97 total punt return yards in that game stand as the eight-best total ever at Ohio. Against Rutgers, Garrett had three punt returns for 90 yards. His 30.0 yards per return is the fourth-best ever by a Bobcat with at least three punt returns in a game, while his yardage total ranks 10th.
Hodge is the second Bobcat defensive end to earn honorable mention freshman All-America honors in as many years (Jameson Hartke). The rookie started has started the last 10 games on the defensive front. For the season, he has 33 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. His 3.5 sacks are second on the team.
Hodge was named MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week in the Bobcats' victory at Kent State. He racked up a career-best eight tackles, including 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
In all, 15 players from the Mid-American Conference were either first-team, second-team, third-team or honorable mention selections.
The Bobcats are 9-4 heading into their first bowl appearance since 1968. Ohio will face Southern Miss in the 2007 GMAC Bowl to be held on Jan. 7 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. For ticket and travel information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS or visit www.ohiobobcats.com.