By Chuck Pool (cpool@Rice.edu) -
Rice junior linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee leads a group of six Owls who were honored by Conference USA coaches in their annual voting to selected C-USA’s All-Conference team.
Ellerbee, who led Conference USA in tackles in his first year as a starter, was named to the first team, while Calvin Anderson, Jack Fox, Alex Lyons, Trey Martin and Tabari McGaskey all earned Honorable Mention honors.
Despite missing one game with an injury, Ellerbee led C-USA and Rice with 10.7 tackles per game which ranks sixth nationally. His average is the highest by an Owl since Larry Izzo averaged 11 tackles per game in 1995 (122 in 11 games). His 118 total tackles are second in conference and match Brian Raines’ 2006 total for the 10th most in school history. His 70 solo tackles are tied for seventh in the nation.
He finished his junior season with a 14-tackle effort at Stanford, his seventh double-digit tackle game this year and the most double-digit tackle games since Izzo recorded seven in 1995. He combined with Lyons for 209, the most for a duo at Rice since Izzo (122) and Jay Lamy (97) combined f or 219 in 1995.
Ellerbee, who has a 3.23 GPA in Civil Engineering, and Xavier Woods of Louisiana Tech are the only first team selections who were also named to the C-USA All-Academic team.
Anderson was the only Owl to start all 12 games on the offensive line, while Martin sparked a late-season surge when he returned from an injury at center. Fox led all C-USA punters by placing 27 kicks inside the 20 yard line while averaging 40.7 per kick. Lyons combined with Ellerbee for 209 tackles in 2016 and collected 273 in a career that saw him start the last 36 consecutive games at linebacker while also serving a as a two-time team captain. MGaskey thrived in the move to strong safety, leading the team with a career-high 11 tackles for loss and six pass breakups.