All-Decade Football Team


By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
December 20, 2009

WEST VIRGINIA ALL-DECADE FOOTBALL TEAM | TONY CARIDI'S ALL-DECADE TEAM

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It was a decade like no other in Mountaineer football history. West Virginia University reached new heights in its long and storied football history from 2000 to 2009.

Consider this:

  • 88-38 overall record with just one losing season during the decade
  • A streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances
  • A streak of four consecutive bowl victories, including the first two major bowl wins in school history
  • Triumphs over Ole Miss, Georgia, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and North Carolina in bowl games
  • A first- or second-place finish in the Big East Conference each of the last eight years
  • A 47-22 record in Big East play with a total of 86 all-conference performers
  • A 51-12 record since 2005
  • A 62-2 record when West Virginia scores more than 30 points in a game
  • Twelfth in total wins (67) over the last seven years
  • Ninth-best road record (28-14) over the last eight years
  • One of only seven schools with nine or more wins in a season for five straight years
  • One of just nine schools that have had at least eight wins for eight straight years
  • A streak of four consecutive AP Top 25 finishes
  • 72 weeks in the AP poll, including 35 weeks in the Top 10
  • The school’s first-ever No. 1 ranking in the Coaches’ Poll
  • Thirteen victories over nationally ranked teams
  • Top 15 ranking in rushing offense for seven consecutive years from 2002-2008
  • 74 network television appearances
  • A Rimington Award winner and two Heisman Trophy finalists
  • Three consensus All-Americans
  • Eclipsed the 10 million mark in total attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium on Oct. 24, 2009

    MSNsportsNET.com has poured through the records and examined the stats to come up with West Virginia’s all-decade football team, headlined by offensive player of the decade Pat White and defensive player of the decade Grant Wiley.

    White became the first quarterback in NCAA history to post four bowl victories as a starting quarterback and also established the rushing standard for quarterbacks with 4,480 yards rushing during his four-year career at West Virginia.

    White is also one of only seven quarterbacks in NCAA history to run for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 during his career. West Virginia was 34-8 with White as the starting quarterback.

    Consensus All-American linebacker Grant Wiley gets the nod as the defensive player of the decade. Wiley ranked third in the nation in tackles in 2003 with an average of 12.8 stops per game. Wiley is the school’s all-time leading tackler with 492 – a record that likely will never be broken. He is also tops in the program with 47 ½ tackles for losses.

    Joining Wiley on the all-decade defense is a front three consisting of Ben Lynch at nose guard, Keilen Dykes at defensive tackle and Johnny Dingle at defensive end.

    Lynch used his speed and quickness off the ball to earn first-team all-Big East honors in 2004, helping the Mountaineers rank 28th nationally in scoring defense that year. Lynch had 123 total tackles, 21 tackles for losses and three sacks in 44 career games.

    Dykes and Dingle were the two key cogs on West Virginia’s seventh-ranked defense in 2007 that stymied Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Dykes was a two-time all-Big East performer who made 129 tackles, 23 tackles for losses and 13 sacks in 50 career games.

    Dingle was West Virginia’s big-play guy on the edge, producing 19 tackles for losses and a team-high nine sacks in 2007 to earn second-team all-Big East honors that season.

    Joining Wiley at linebacker are Reed Williams and James Davis. Williams was the defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl, using his brains and instincts to produce a stat line that includes 243 tackles, 18 tackles for losses, eight sacks, 12 pass breakups and seven forced fumbles heading into the 2010 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.

    Davis earned second team all-Big East honors in 2002 when the league still had Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. He produced 39 ½ tackles for losses to go with 18 career sacks. In a West Virginia win against BC in 2002, Davis had 14 tackles, a sack, two blocked field goals, and forced an interception in a great all-around performance.

    The secondary features three hard-hitting safeties in Eric Wicks, Jahmile Addae and Mike Lorello.

    Wicks was a two-time all-Big East performer in 2006 and 2007 who made 208 tackles, 25 ½ tackles for losses, 12 sacks, 16 pass breakups, eight interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He also scored two defensive touchdowns during a very active four-year Mountaineer career.

    Like Wicks, Addae twice earned first team all-Big East honors in 2004 and 2005, and ranked second in the Big East in interceptions as a sophomore in 2002. Addae’s career stats included eight picks and 25 pass breakups.

    Lorello was a first team all-Big East choice in 2005, and he finished his Mountaineer career in the top five in career tackles for losses with 31 ½. Lorello also had five sacks and six interceptions in 50 career games.

    Completing the secondary are corners speedy Pacman Jones and Ellis Lankster.

    Jones was one of West Virginia’s most dynamic players during his three-year career before entering the NFL draft a year early. Jones scored touchdowns four different ways by interception return, fumble return, kick return and punt return. He had eight interceptions and 22 pass breakups in 36 career games, and was named Big East special teams player of the year in 2004.

    Lankster, a JC transfer, blossomed as a senior in 2008 under Dave Lockwood when he was named to the all-Big East second team. Lankster was in on 84 tackles, four interceptions and eight pass breakups in 22 career games before accepting an invitation to the 2009 Senior Bowl, where he parlayed that into a spot on the Buffalo Bills roster.

    Joining White on the all-decade offense is a lethal pair of tailbacks in Steve Slaton and Avon Cobourne.

    Slaton earned Consensus All-America honors in 2006 after producing one of the top all-around offensive seasons in school history. He became the first player in school history to crack the 2,000-yard mark in all-purpose yardage, and finished second in the nation that year by averaging 161.8 yards per game. Super Steve had seven rushing touchdowns of 50 yards or longer and finished his career with a school-record 50 rushing touchdowns.

    While Slaton made a career out of hitting home runs, Cobourne was more of an in-between-the-tackles runner who got the tough yards when West Virginia needed them most. He is one of only 14 backs in NCAA history to run for more than 5,000 career yards and is the Big East (5,039) and school (5,164) career rushing leader. Cobourne was a two-time all-Big East pick in 2002 and 1999, and earned second team all-conference honors in 1999 and 2000.

    The third member of the all-decade backfield is fullback Owen Schmitt, who saved his best performances for West Virginia’s biggest games. As a sophomore in 2005, Schmitt ripped off a 54-yard run against Georgia in the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl.

    A year later when Slaton was shelved with a thigh injury, Schmitt stepped in and ran for a career-high 109 yards against Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl. And in 2008 it was Schmitt’s career-long 57-yard touchdown run against Oklahoma that began West Virginia’s rout of the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The offensive line features a trio of All-American performers, headlined by Rimington Award winner Dan Mozes at center. Mozes, a 2006 consensus All-America pick, anchored West Virginia’s offensive line from 2003-2006, helping the Mountaineers rank third in scoring and fifth in total offense in 2006.

    Flanking Mozes are guards Jeremy Sheffey and Greg Isdaner, a pair of all-conference performers who helped the Mountaineers rank near the top of the nation in rushing offense for seven straight years from 2002-2008. Sheffey started 33 games from 2004-2006 while Isdaner made 37 starts from 2006-2008.

    The two tackles are All-Americans Ryan Stanchek and Garin Justice. Stanchek was a two-time first team All-American in 2007 and 2008, making 45 career starts from 2005-2008, while Justice was a key member of the 2005 offensive line that paved the way to an 11-1 record and a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Justice was a Sporting News second team All-America honoree in 2005.

    The wide receiver corps features a pair of big-time playmakers in Chris Henry and Darius Reynaud.

    Henry owns the school record with 12 touchdown catches in 2004 and is second in career TD grabs with 22 in just two seasons of action. Seven of Henry’s 22 touchdowns covered at least 40 yards. His career stat line included 93 catches for 1,878 yards for an average of 20.2 yards per catch in 25 career games.

    Reynaud was just as effective, producing 133 catches for 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns in 38 career games. The two-time second team all-Big East pick caught 64 passes for 733 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2007.

    Rounding out the MSNsportsNET.com all-decade football team is specialist Pat McAfee, who assumes the dual role of kicker/punter.

    As a place kicker, McAfee owns the school record for scoring (384) and PATs (210). As a punter, McAfee is second in school history career punting average (43.7) with a long punt of 75 yards against Cincinnati in 2006.

    McAfee was a Walter Camp second team All-America selection in 2008 and a third team choice by The Associated Press.

    MSNsportsNET.com West Virginia Football All-Decade Team

    Offense

    QB – Pat White
    NCAA career leader in quarterback rushing yards with 4,480 … first QB to lead his team to four bowl victories during his college career: Sugar, Gator, Fiesta and Meineke Car Care … earned bowl MVP honors in Gator, Fiesta and Meineke bowls … established 19 NCAA, Big East and West Virginia records during his career … one of only seven quarterbacks in NCAA history to run for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 yards during his career … 103 TDs responsible for a Big East record … first player in Big East history to eclipse 10,000 yards of total offense … Mountaineers were 34-8 with White as a starting quarterback … finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2008 … three-time Big East first team all-conference choice and two-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year … finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award … three-time West Virginia Amateur Athlete of the Year … two-time Alabama Amateur Athlete of the Year … finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2007 … ranked 10th in the nation in passing efficiency in 2007 … Sporting News Freshman All-America in 2005 … invited to the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl … 6,049 yards and 56 touchdowns passing, and 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns rushing … four career 200-yard rushing games … Big East record 247 yards rushing against Syracuse in 2006 … one of just eight players in NCAA history to run and pass for more than 200 yards in the same game against Pitt in 2006 … had 19 runs of more than 40 yards for his career.


    RB - Steve Slaton
    2006 Consensus All-America … first team all-Big East in 2006 and second team all-Big East in 2007 and 2005 … ran for more than 1,000 yards all three seasons at WVU … school record holder with 50 career rushing touchdowns … first player in WVU history to amass more than 2,000 all-purpose yards (2,104 in 2006) in a single season … fourth in career rushing at WVU … 21 career 100-yard rushing games … three career 200-yard rushing games … seven touchdown runs of 50 yards or longer … led the Big East and ranked second in the nation in all-purpose yardage in 2006 with an average of 161.8 yards per game … one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award … fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting in 2006 … Philadelphia Sports Writers Amateur Athlete of the Year in 2006 … school record 1,744 yards rushing … 2005 Big East and ECAC Rookie of the Year … 2005 Sporting News Freshman All-America Second Team … scored six touchdowns in West Virginia’s 46-44 triple-overtime victory over Louisville in 2005 … MVP of the 2006 Sugar Bowl with a bowl-record 204 yards rushing against Georgia … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    RB – Avon Cobourne
    One of only 14 backs in NCAA history to rush for more than 5,000 yards during his career … tied with Garrett Wolfe for 11th in all-time NCAA rushing with 5,164 yards … West Virginia University’s and the Big East’s (5,039) all-time leading rusher (the conference did not recognize bowl rushing stats during his career) … Associated Press All-America third team … two-time first team all-Big East in 2002 and 1999 and two-time second team all-Big East in 2000 and 2001 … finished seventh in the nation in rushing in 2002 with an average of 131.5 yards per game … 28 career 100-yard rushing games including a career-high 260 yards against East Carolina … two career 200-yard rushing games … became only the seventh player in NCAA history to run for more than 100 yards four consecutive years against the same opponent (Rutgers) … four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons … Sporting News Freshman All-America First Team … 42 career rushing touchdowns in 44 career games.


    FB – Owen Schmitt
    Scout second team All-America in 2006 … had a career-long 57-yard touchdown run against Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl … ran for 109 yards against Georgia Tech in the 2007 Gator Bowl … had a 54-yard run against Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl … accounted for 1,003 yards rushing, 288 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns in 38 career games … made 22 career starts …invited to the 2008 Senior Bowl.


    OT – Ryan Stanchek
    Walter Camp Foundation All-America and CollegeFootballNews.com third team All-America in 2008 … First team all-Big East in 2008 and second team all-Big East in 2006 … Football Writers Association All-America and second team All-America by Sports News and Walter Camp Foundation in 2007 … Sporting News Freshman All-America in 2005 … West Virginia led the Big East in scoring offense and rushing offense in 2007 and 2006 with Stanchek paving the way … Mountaineers were 15th in NCAA rushing in 2008, third in 2007, second in 2006 and fourth in 2005 during Stanchek’s career … started 45 career games.


    OT – Garin Justice
    Sporting News second team All-America and first team all-Big East in 2005 … played on offensive lines that helped West Virginia rank first in the Big East in rushing offense during both of his years as a starter in 2004 and 2005 … the Mountaineers ranked fourth in the nation in rushing offense in 2005 and finished seventh in the nation in 2004.


    OG – Jeremy Sheffey
    First team all-Big East in 2006 and second team all-Big East in 2005 … performed on offensive lines that helped West Virginia rank first in the Big East in rushing offense in 2006, 2005 and 2004 and first in the Big East in scoring offense in 2006 … the Mountaineers were second in the country in rushing in 2006, fourth in 2005 and seventh in 2004 … WVU’s 2006 offense ranked third in the nation in scoring and fifth in yards per game … made 33 career starts.


    OG – Greg Isdaner
    First team all-Big East in 2007 … performed on offensive lines that helped West Virginia rank first in the Big East in rushing offense in 2007 and 2006 … the Mountaineers were second in the country in rushing in 2006 … Sporting News, Rivals and Scout Freshman All-America teams … made 37 career starts … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    C – Dan Mozes
    Rimington Award winner and consensus All-America selection at center in 2006 … one of three Outland Trophy finalists … three-time first-team all-Big East in 2006, 2005 and 2004 at two different positions - center and offensive guard … Associated Press Second Team All-America in 2005 … anchored offensive lines that led the conference in rushing offense four straight years from 2003-06 and scoring offense in 2006 … the Mountaineers were second in the country in rushing in 2006, fourth in 2005 and seventh in 2004 … WVU’s 2006 offense ranked third in the nation in scoring and fifth in yards per game … Sporting News Freshman All-America Second Team … made a school record 49 career starts, including 39 in a row … invited to the 2007 Senior Bowl.


    WR – Chris Henry
    First team all-Big East in 2004 … owns the school record for touchdown catches in a season with 12 in 2004 …second in career touchdown receptions with 22 … recorded 52 catches for 872 yards during his junior season … had seven touchdown catches of 40 yards or longer …ranked 29th in NCAA receiving yards per game (83.8) in 2003 … scored touchdowns on the first three catches of his career … 2003 Big East Rookie of the Year and second team all-conference … one of only two players in school history to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season (1,006 in 2003) … posted a single-game record 209 yards receiving against Syracuse in 2003 …recorded 93 catches for 1,878 yards and 22 touchdowns with an average of 20.2 yards per catch in 25 career games … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    WR – Darius Reynaud
    Two-time second team all-Big East in 2007 and 2006 … led West Virginia in receiving with 64 catches for 733 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2007 … fifth in the Big East in receptions per game and eighth in receiving yards per game in 2007 … fifth in career receiving at WVU … 133 catches for 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns in 38 career games … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    PK/P – Pat McAfee
    Walter Camp second team All-America and Associated Press third team All-America in 2008 … Ray Guy Award finalist … Lou Groza Award semifinalist … second team all-Big East as a punter and kicker … tied for 22nd in NCAA history in career scoring (384) and 16th in career scoring among kickers … Big East record holder for career PATs (210), second in career scoring, second in career punting average (43.7) and third in career field goals made (58) … WVU career records for games (51), scoring, PATs and second in career punting average and field goals made … career-long 52-yard FG to send Cincinnati game into overtime … career-long 75-yard punt in 2006 … was 58 of 79 in career field goal attempts for his career … invited to the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl.


    Defense

    NG – Ben Lynch
    First team all-Big East in 2004 … helped the Mountaineers to a No. 28 ranking nationally in scoring defense in 2004, giving up 20.5 points per game … career-best 12 tackles against Temple in 2003 … 123 total tackles, 21 tackles for losses and three sacks in 44 career games.


    DT – Keilen Dykes
    Two-time first team all-Big East in 2007 and 2006 … a key member of a West Virginia unit that ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense in 2007 … scored a defensive touchdown against Syracuse in 2007 … made 44 career starts … had 129 tackles, 23 tackles for losses and 13 sacks in 50 career games.


    DE – Johnny Dingle
    Second team all-Big East in 2008 … tied school record with 19 tackles for losses and posted a team-best nine sacks during his junior season in 2008 … second in the Big East in tackles for losses and tied for 14th nationally … fourth in the Big East in sacks and 28th nationally … a key member of a West Virginia defense that ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense in 2007 … made 15 sacks and 28 tackles for losses in 19 career starts … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    LB - Grant Wiley
    Consensus All-America selection at linebacker in 2003 … led the Big East and ranked third in the country in tackles with an average of 12.8 per game … led the nation in forced fumbles with seven during his senior year … had a career-high 18 tackles in a last-minute loss at No. 2 Miami … two-time first team all-Big East in 2003 and 2002 … unanimous all-Big East selection in 2003 … 2000 Big East Rookie of the Year … Sporting News Freshman All-America Second Team … one of only nine linebackers to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season (2000) … school’s all-time leading tackler (492), solo tackler (298) and also owns the school record with 47 ½ tackles for losses … 29 career double-figure tackle performances in 46 career games … invited to the 2004 Senior Bowl.


    LB – Reed Williams
    Second team all-Big East in 2009 … 10th in the Big East in passes defended and 26th in total tackles … Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP … National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete team … two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America … finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy presented to the player showing commitment to the team and community … has played in 51 career games with 25 career starts heading into the 2010 Gator Bowl … 243 tackles, 18 tackles for losses, eight sacks, 12 pass breakups and seven forced fumbles.


    LB – James Davis
    Second team all-Big East in 2002 … 39 ½ career tackles for losses including 13 ½ as a senior … 18 career sacks … produced a career-best 15 tackles in a home loss to Miami … five career double-figure tackle games … had 14 tackles, a sack, blocked two field goals and forced an interception in a great all-around performance against Boston College in 2002 … made 238 tackles in 46 career games.


    S – Eric Wicks
    Two-time first team all-Big East in 2007 and 2006 … tied for team lead in interceptions with three in 2007 … a key member of a West Virginia defense that ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense in 2007 … scored defensive touchdowns against Louisville in 2007 and Syracuse in 2005 … earned second team all-Big East honors in 2005 … made 37 career starts … 208 tackles, 25 ½ tackles for losses, 12 sacks, 16 pass breakups, eight interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in 50 career games.


    S – Jahmile Addae
    Two-time first team all-Big East in 2004 and 2005 … ranked second in the Big East in interceptions in 2002 … career-high 13 tackles twice against Wisconsin and Virginia Tech in 2002 … played in West Virginia’s secondary as a true freshman in 2001 when the Mountaineers ranked No. 1 in the country in pass defense allowing just 136.7 yards per game … posted 253 tackles, eight interceptions and 25 pass breakups in 44 career games … invited to the 2006 Senior Bowl.


    S – Mike Lorello
    First team all-Big East in 2005 and second team all-Big East in 2004 … recorded 261 tackles, six interceptions, five sacks, 31 ½ tackles for losses and 15 pass breakups in 50 career games … WVU Top 5 in career tackles for losses … career-high 13 tackles against Cincinnati in 2003 … semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy and National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.


    CB - Pacman Jones
    Led the Big East and ranked 16th in the nation in punt returns in 2004 with an average of 14.6 yards per return ... 2004 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year … CollegeFootballNews.com first team All-America … second in career kickoff return yards (1,475) … ranked 16th in NCAA kick returns with an average of 26.2 yards per return in 2003 … scored touchdowns four different ways during his WVU career by kickoff, punt, interception and fumble … produced 201 tackles, eight interceptions and 22 pass breakups in 36 career games … left school early with one year of eligibility remaining.


    CB – Ellis Lankster
    Second team all-Big East in 2008 … career-high 12 tackles against Connecticut … member of the 2008 defense ranked 11th in the nation allowing just 17 points per game … 84 tackles, four interceptions and eight pass breakups in 22 career games aft3er transferring to West Virginia from junior college … invited to the Under Armour Senior Bowl.

    Offensive Player of the Decade – Pat White

    Defensive Player of the Decade – Grant Wiley

    Monday: MSNsportsNET.com’s all-decade men’s and women’s basketball teams.




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