By: Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON - Emmanuel Ellerbee and Brian Womac lead a group of eight Rice football players who were honored by Conference USA head coaches as members of the 2017 C-USA All Conference football team.
Ellerbee and Womac were named to the first team, Jack Fox and Austin Trammell were named to the second team and Calvin Anderson, Trey Martin, Austin Walter and Roe Wilkins earned honorable mention honors.
Ellerbee became the first Owl to earn first-team honors in consecutive seasons since Phillip Gaines in 2012 and 2013. He ended his season year with a career-high 120 tackles to move into 10th on the Rice single season list surpassing his 2016 total of 119. His 239 tackles in back-to-back seasons are the most by an Owls since Robert Williamson compiled 269 from 1979-80.
Womac set a school record with 22 tackles for loss and leads C-USA in tackles for a loss and sacks heading into bowl action. He recorded at least on tackle for loss in each game and ranks third nationally with 21 solo tackles for losses while his 109 yards lost ranks second. He is tied for fourth nationally with 82 yards lost on sacks while his 10 solo sacks are tied for sixth and his 10 total sacks are tied for eighth.
Fox finished second in the conference and 17th nationally with a career-best 44.2 average on 57 punts, which tied for fifth at Rice. He closed the season by averaging 48.5 yards on his final 10 punts over the last three games of the year, with six of his 10 kicks traveling for 50 yards or longer.
Trammel was named to the second team as a punt returner in addition to earning C-USA All-Freshman honors earlier at the same position. He averaged 7.8 yards per return, the highest mark for an Owl since 2011 when Mario Hull averaged 10.2. His 35-yard effort vs. Army was the longest by an Owl since 2010.
Anderson started all 12 games on the offensive line and Martin was the only offensive lineman in the country to have at least 128 snaps in pass protection and not allow a single quarterback pressure. Walter led the team in all-purpose yards and was just one of five players in the nation with a play of at least 70 yards both rushing and receiving. Wilkins was second on the team in tackles for loss with 8.5 and tied for fifth in Conference USA in sacks with 6.5, which led all C-USA interior defensive linemen.