Running back Calvin Dawson, offensive lineman Kyle Cunningham and punter Scott Love all received first team honors. Tight end Zeek Zacharie, center Adam Hill, defensive tackle David Cooper, linebacker Cardia Jackson and safety Greg James all earned second team honors. Running back Frank Goodin and defensive end Aaron Morgan were both named to the honorable mention list.
The Warhawks were bowl eligible for the first time since they made the jump to Division I-A in 1994 after winning five of their last six games of the season, including a 21-14 victory at Alabama.
FAU's Rusty Smith was named Player of the Year, Troy's Omar Haugabook was named Offensive Player of the Year, Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson was named Defensive Player of the Year, North Texas' Giovanni Vizza was named Freshman of the Year and FAU's Howard Schnellenberger was named Coach of the Year.
Dawson, who was a first team selection last year, finished the season as the conference's leading rusher for the second-straight year running for 1,414 yards and 12 touchdowns. The senior from Bossier City, La., finishes his ULM career as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,378 yards and the all-time rushing touchdowns leader with 30.
He also holds the school record for career 100 yard games (18), single-season 100 yard games (9) and all-purpose yards in a game (329). Dawson set the school record and led the nation with his string of 10 consecutive games rushing for at least 100 yards.
Cunningham improved from his second team selection last season to the first team after grading out at over 92 percent on the season. The senior from Oklahoma City, Okla., native recorded over 40 knockdowns and started all 46 games of his career.
He was named to both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists prior to the season and was named Best Run Blocker in the Sun Belt by Lindy's Magazine. Cunningham graded out with a 91 against both Alabama and Clemson.
Love, a sophomore from West Monroe, La., took advantage of his first season as the starting punter for the Warhawks. He led the Sun Belt averaging 42.1 yards per kick and set the school record with 23 punts inside the 20-yard line. Love was named Sun Belt and Louisiana Player of the Week a total of four times throughout the season and boomed 11 kicks more than 50 yards.
Behind Love's kicking, ULM ranked 17th in the nation in net punting. His two biggest kicks of the year came with the Warhawks protecting a 21-14 lead at Alabama late in the fourth quarter. Facing two all-out blocks, punting from the back of his end zone and his nine-yard line, Love averaged 43.5 yards on those two kicks flipping the field and helping ULM preserve the upset.
Zacharie finished the season tied for 10th nationally among tight ends and third in the Sun Belt among all receivers with six touchdowns. The junior from Cade, La., pulled down 32 catches for 413 yards over the Warhawks final eight games of the season bringing his season total to 36 receptions for 437 yards.
The repeat performer on the second team was named John Mackey National Tight End of the Week following his performance at Florida Atlantic.
Like Cunningham, Hill started all 46 games of his ULM career. The senior from Arlington, Texas, posted grades of 95 or better four times this season (Tulsa, Texas A&M, Troy and Arkansas State) and finished the season grading out at over 92 percent. He recorded 17 knockdowns at Texas A&M and 12 at Clemson.
He has been the centerpiece on an offensive line that has paved the may for the Sun Belt's leading rusher the past two seasons. ULM allowed just 20 sacks this year, ranking 30th in the nation. He was named to the Rimington and Lombardi Award watch lists.
Cooper was a key part in the Warhawks defense that ranked first in the league against the rush and third in scoring defense. The senior from Pearl, Miss., finished the season fourth in the league with 5.0 sacks and tied for the team lead in tackles for a loss.
He posted three sacks for a loss of 27 yards against Grambling State. His biggest game of the season came at Florida Atlantic. Cooper recorded his first career interception and blocked the potential game-winning field in ULM's thrilling victory over the Owls in their only conference loss of the season.
Jackson led the Warhawks in tackles and tackles for a loss with 79 and 7.0, respectively. The sophomore from Monroe, La., finished the season 12th in the conference in tackles per game and 11th in total tackles.
He recorded a career-high 10 tackles in the Warhawks victory at Florida Atlantic and in the season-ending win at Louisiana-Lafayette.
James ended the season with a bang returning his fifth interception of the season 60 yards for a touchdown at Louisiana-Lafayette. The sophomore from Monroe, La., finished the year ranked fourth in the Sun Belt in interceptions. He finished the season with the most solo tackles on the team, 54, and ranked 14th in the conference in tackles per game.
James was named Sun Belt Player of the Week following a pair of interceptions in ULM's victory over Arkansas State and received Louisiana Player of the Week honors for his work against ULL.
Goodin finished ninth in the conference with 596 rushing yards and was tied for 12th with four rushing touchdowns backing up Dawson. The freshman from West Monroe, La., finished fifth in the Sun Belt in all-purpose yards and fourth in kickoff returns.
He ran for over 100 yards against both Clemson and Grambling State and helped the Warhawks rush for over 200 yards in seven games. His five total touchdowns rank third on the team behind just Dawson and Zacharie. He had over 100 all-purpose yards in seven games and over 90 all-purpose yards in nine games.
Morgan stepped into a starting role a few games into the season and finished the season third on the team in sacks with 3.0 and fourth in tackles for a loss with 6.5, despite battling an injury most of the second half of the season.
The complete 2007 All-Sun Belt Conference teams are listed below.
Player of Year – Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic, So., QB) Offensive Player of Year – Omar Haugabook (Troy, Sr., QB) Defensive Player of the Year – Tyrell Johnson (Arkansas State, Sr., DB) Newcomer of the Year – Chris Bradwell (Troy, Sr., DL) Freshman of the Year – Giovanni Vizza (North Texas, Fr., QB) Coach of the Year – Howard Schnellenberger, FAU
First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic, R-So, QB) Tyrell Fenroy (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., RB) Calvin Dawson (ULM, Sr., RB) Cortez Gent (Florida Atlantic, R-So, WR) Casey Fitzgerald (North Texas, Jr., WR) Jason Harmon (Florida Atlantic, Jr, TE) Matt Mandich (Arkansas State, Jr., OL) Jesse Newman (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL) Franklin Dunbar (Middle Tennessee, Jr., OL) Kyle Cunningham (ULM, Sr., OL) Dion Small (Troy, Jr., OL)
First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense Rodney Hardeway (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DL) Tavares Jones (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DL) Erik Walden (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DL) Jeremiah Chapman (North Texas, Sr., DL) Frantz Joseph (Florida Atlantic, Jr., LB) Cergile Sincere (Florida Atlantic, Sr., LB) Boris Lee (Troy, So., LB) Khayyam Burns (Arkansas State, Sr., DB) Tyrell Johnson (Arkansas State, Sr., DB) Tavious Polo (Florida Atlantic, Fr, DB) Elbert Mack (Troy, Sr., DB)
First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Greg Whibbs (Troy, Sr., PK) Scott Love (ULM, So., P) Leodis McKelvin (Troy, Sr., KR) Desmond Gee (Middle Tennessee, So., All Purpose)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense Omar Haugabook (Troy, Sr., QB) Reggie Arnold (Arkansas State, So., RB) Kenny Cattouse (Troy, Sr., RB) Levi Dejohnette (Arkansas State, Sr., WR) Gary Banks (Troy, Sr., WR) Zeek Zacharie (ULM, Jr., TE) John Rizzo (Florida Atlantic, Jr, OL) Jarrid Smith (Florida Atlantic, Sr., OL) Adam Hill (ULM, Sr., OL) Chris Fisher (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., OL) Kelvin Drake (North Texas, So., OL)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense Jervonte Jackson (Florida Atlantic, Jr., DL) David Cooper (ULM, Sr., DL) Kenny Mainor (Troy, Jr., DL) Shawn Todd (Troy, Sr., DL) Koby McKinnon (Arkansas State, Sr. LB) Antwyne Zanders (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., LB) Cardia Jackson (ULM, So., LB) Corey Small (Florida Atlantic, Jr., DB) Greg James (ULM, So., DB) Bradley Robinson (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DB) Leodis McKelvin (Troy, Sr., DB)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Drew Edmiston (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., PK) Brett Shrable (Arkansas State, Jr., P) Lionell Singleton (Florida International, Sr., KR) Michael Desormeaux (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., All Purpose)
Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference: Corey Leonard (Arkansas State, So., QB), Alex Carrington (Arkansas State, So., DE), Kris Bartels (Florida Atlantic, Sr., DB), Charles Pierre (Florida Atlantic, Jr., RB), Scott Bryant (Florida International, So., LB), Ashlyn Parker (Florida International, So., DB), Korey Raymond (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DL), Grant Fleming (Louisiana-Lafayette, Fr., LB), Frank Goodin (ULM, Fr. RB), Aaron Morgan (ULM, So., DL), DeMarco McNair (Middle Tennessee, Sr., RB), Alex Suber (Middle Tennessee, Jr., DB), Brandon Jackson (North Texas, Sr., WR), Craig Robertson (North Texas, Fr., LB), Chris Jamison (Troy, Jr., OL), Sherrod Martin (Troy, Jr., DB)