Smallwood, Stephen American All-Conference Picks

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Congrats to that duo….

No players on offense…

Here’s the release from UConn

STORRS, Conn. (Dec. 11, 2013) – UConn football had a pair of honorees on the inaugural American Athletic Conference All-Conference teams. Redshirt-junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood (Worcester, Mass.) was named an All-Conference First Team member, while senior defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (Brookville, N.Y.) was called to the Second Team.  The league made the announcement on Wednesday (Dec. 11) morning.

Smallwood’s honor comes after he was named UConn’s Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week. The linebacker started all 12 games for UConn and led the team with 118 tackles, currently placing him at 22nd in the nation and third in the conference with 9.8 stops per contest. Smallwood also picked up 9.5 TFL and a team-high four sacks, adding an interception, nine pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles to an all-around dominant season.

Smallwood was honored by the conference two other times this season, earning a Weekly Honor Roll nod on Sept. 23 and Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 25. He was also named Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23 after compiling 13 tackles with a sack and forced fumble against then-No. 14 Michigan on Sept. 21. His Player of the Week nod from The American came after sealing UConn’s win at Temple on Nov. 23 with a go-ahead 59-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Smallwood notched double-digit tackles in six games, including a career-high 16 vs. Towson on Aug. 29, and at least seven in four others. He is a repeat member of the All-Conference First Team after being named to the All-BIG EAST first team in 2012.

Stephen adds his All-Conference honor to the Team MVP he received earlier this week. The defensive tackle was a stalwart on the UConn front, starting all 12 games and compiling 60 tackles, including 10 for loss and three sacks. The UConn captain finished third on UConn in total tackles while leading the squad in tackles for loss and finishing second in sacks. Stephen had a career-high eight tackles vs. USF on Oct. 12 and finished with multiple tackles for loss in three games, including a career-high 2.5 against Buffalo on Sept. 28.

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles and Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith, who led their respective teams to 11-1 records in the regular season, were named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Houston return specialist Demarcus Ayers and Memphis punter Tom Hornsey were chosen as The American’s Special Teams Players of the Year. Houston quarterback John O’Korn was the choice as Rookie of the Year. UCF coach George O’Leary, who led the Knights to the outright American Athletic Conference title and a berth in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, was the unanimous selection as Coach of the Year.



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