Football: UNT’s Fortenberry named first-team All-Sun Belt

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Dan McCarney had a feeling Aaron Fortenberry was in for a special senior season at North Texas.

Turns out, the Mean Green’s head coach was right.

The former walk-on from the tiny town of Era anchored UNT’s offensive line all year long and was rewarded for his performance this season Wednesday when the All-Sun Belt Conference team was announced.

Fortenberry was named to the first team, the only UNT player to receive the honor.

Linebacker Zach Orr, cornerback Zac Whitfield and punter Will Atterberry were named to the second team, while offensive linemen Mason Y’Barbo and Cyril Lemon were both honorable mention selections.

The league’s head coaches and media members who regularly cover the conference selected the team.

“He is a communicator and a leader,” McCarney said of Fortenberry before the season began. “I really have high hopes for him. No one talks about him when they talk about preseason all-conference teams. I have a feeling that he is going to have a really special senior year. He has it in him to be an all-conference player. He is playing with tremendous confidence right now.”

Fortenberry carried that confidence over to the field, where he played a key role for UNT, allowing only six sacks.

Nationally, UNT and Air Force are currently tied for the fewest number of sacks allowed this season.

Fortenberry started the final 33 games of his Mean Green career.

Orr finished with 108 tackles in his junior season in addition to intercepting two passes and recovering two fumbles.

Whitfield intercepted three passes and led the Sun Belt with 12 pass breakups.

Atterberry averaged 41.3 yards a punt, had eight that traveled at least 50 yards and dropped 23 inside opponents’ 20-yard line.

Y’Barbo and Lemon were both key players on UNT’s offensive line that helped the Mean Green rush for 2,082 yards on the season.

Quarterback Ryan Aplin, who led Arkansas State to the Sun Belt title, was named the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning was named the Offensive Player of the Year and Western Kentucky defensive lineman Quanterus Smith the Defensive Player of the Year.

ULM’s Todd Berry was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year after leading the Warhawks to an 8-4 finish, their first winning season since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1994 and their first Division I bowl game.

ULM will play Ohio in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 28.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-455-6870. His e-mail address is bvito@dentonrc.com .

ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE

As voted on by the league head coaches and media

Player of the Year: Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)

Offensive Player of the Year: Kolton Browning (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., QB)

Defensive Player of the Year: Quanterus Smith (WKU, Sr., DL)

Freshman of the Year: J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State, Fr., WR)

Coach of the Year: Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State, Sr., QB; David Oku, Arkansas State, Jr., RB; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky, Jr., RB; Brent Leonard, Louisiana-Monroe, Sr., WR; Anthony Amos, Middle Tennessee, Sr., WR; Chip Reeves, Troy, WR, Sr.; Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky, Sr., TE; Zack McKnight, Arkansas State, Sr., OL; Micah James, Middle Tennessee, Sr., OL; Aaron Fortenberry, North Texas, Sr., OL; Kyle Wilborn, Troy, Sr., OL; Adam Smith, Western Kentucky, Sr., OL

DEFENSE

Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State, Jr., DL; Tourek Williams, Florida International, Sr., DL; Emeka Onyenekwu, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DL; Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky, Sr., DL; Nathan Herrold, Arkansas State, Sr., LB; Jake Johnson, South Alabama, Sr., LB; Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky, Jr., LB; Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International, Sr., DB; Jemarlous Moten, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DB; Brynden Trawick, Troy, Sr., DB; Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky, So., DB

SPECIAL TEAMS

Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., K; Brett Baer Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., P; Reggie Whatley, Middle Tennessee, So., Return Specialist; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky, Jr., All Purpose

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., QB; Benny Cunningham, Middle Tennessee, Sr., RB; Shawn Southward, Troy, RB, Sr.; J.D. McKissic, Arkansas State, Fr., WR; William Dukes, Florida Atlantic, So, WR; Harry Peoples, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., WR; Nexon Dorvilus, Florida Atlantic, Jr., TE; Caylin Hauptmann, Florida International, Sr., OL; Leonardo Bates, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL; Jonathon Gill, Louisiana-Monroe, Sr., OL; Andrew Huval, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., OL; Josh Allen, Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., OL

DEFENSE

Tim Starson, Arkansas State, Sr., DL; Omar McLendon, Middle Tennessee, Sr., DL; Alex Page, South Alabama, Jr., DL; R.J. Young, Louisiana-Monroe, Sr., LB; Tony Davis, Troy, Sr., DL; Zach Orr, North Texas, Jr., LB; Kanorris Davis, Troy, Sr., LB; Brent Harstad, Florida Atlantic, Sr., DB; Isaiah Newsome, Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., DB; Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee, Fr., DB; Zac Whitfield, North Texas, Fr., DB

SPECIAL TEAMS

Brian Davis, Arkansas State, Jr., K; Will Atterberry, North Texas, Sr., P; Deon Anthony, Troy, Jr., All Purpose; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky, Jr., RS

HONORABLE MENTION

Taylor Stockemer, Arkansas State, Sr., WR; Qushaun Lee, Arkansas State, So., LB; Daniel McKinney, Florida Atlantic, Jr., WR; Andrae Kirk, Florida Atlantic, So., LB; Rupert Bryan, Florida International, Sr., OL; Jose Cheeseborough, Florida International, Sr., DB; Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette, So., QB; Jaron Odom, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL; Je’Ron Hamm, Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., WR; DaCorris Ford, Louisiana-Monroe, Sr., LB; Logan Kilgore, Middle Tennessee, Jr., QB; Josh Walker, Middle Tennessee, Jr., OL; Cyril Lemon, North Texas, So., OL; Mason Y’Barbo, North Texas, So., OL; Enrique Williams, South Alabama, Jr., LB; B.J. Scott, South Alabama, Sr., DB; Corey Robinson, Troy, Jr., QB; Eric Thomas, Troy, WR, Jr.; Kawaun Jakes, Western Kentucky, Sr., QB; Jamarcus Allen, Western Kentucky, Sr., DL

 


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