UCF Picked To Finish Third In The East In Conference USA Preseason Football Coaches' Poll

July 24, 2007

Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF football team has been picked to finish third in the East Division of Conference USA as league officials released the preseason coaches' poll on Tuesday.

The league's 12 head coaches have the Knights (47) placing third, just a point shy of second-place East Carolina (48) in the poll. Southern Miss (69) was picked to win the East, while reigning C-USA Champion Houston (63) was picked to defend their West Division title. The Golden Eagles are the defending East Division champions. The Cougars edged Tulsa (62) in the West Division poll with SMU (48) taking third.

The coaches' tabbed junior cornerback Joe Burnett (Eustis, Fla./Eustis) as the Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year and he was also named to the preseason first-team as a punt returner. Burnett was joined on the all-league first team by classmate Kevin Smith (Miami, Fla./Southridge), who was one of two running backs selected to the squad.

Burnett has two career punt returns for touchdowns and his 595 career punt return yards are already the third most in school history and only 122 yards shy of the record held by Mike Dickinson. Burnett averaged 16.5, which is a school record, and 12.0 yards per return in his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively.

Smith has rushed for more yards than any back in UCF history through two seasons, amassing 2,112 yards for the Black and Gold. All four of Smith's 100-yard rushing efforts in his 2006 season that was cut short by a shoulder injury were in league play. He rushed for 964 yards in nine games last season after rushing for 1,148 yards as a true freshman.

The Knights will open the 2007 campaign on the road at NC State on Sept. 1 before returning home for the opening of Bright House Networks Stadium on Sept. 15 vs. Texas. Season tickets for the first season at the on-campus stadium are still available and can be purchased by calling 407-UCF-1000.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.

CONFERENCE USA PRESEASON COACHES' POLLEast Division West Division1. Southern Miss (69) 1. Houston (63)2. East Carolina (48) 2. Tulsa (62)3. UCF (47) 3. SMU (48)4. Marshall (39) 4. UTEP (37)5. Memphis (30) 5. Rice (30)6. UAB (19) 6. Tulane (12)
SPECIALTY AWARDSOffensive Player of the Year: Jarrett Dillard, WR, RiceDefensive Player of the Year: Albert McClellan, DE, MarshallSpecial Teams Player of the Year: Joe Burnett, UCF="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E%3Cstrong%3EFIRST%20TEAM%20OFFENSE%3C/strong%3EQB%20%20%20%20%20Paul%20Smith,%20Sr.,%20TulsaRB%20%20%20%20%20Damion%20Fletcher,%20So.,%20Southern%20Miss%3Cstrong%3ERB%20%20%20%20%20%3Cahref="http: www.fansonly.com/schools/ucf/sports/m-footbl/mtt/smith_kevin00.html"="">Kevin Smith, Jr., UCF="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/strong%3EOL%20%20%20%20%20Doug%20Legursky,%20Sr.,%20MarshallOL%20%20%20%20%20Jeff%20Akeroyd,%20Sr.,%20HoustonOL%20%20%20%20%20Chris%20Clark,%20Sr.,%20Southern%20MissOL%20%20%20%20%20Brandon%20Pearce,%20Jr.,%20MemphisOL%20%20%20%20%20Robby%20Heos,%20Sr.,%20RiceWR%20%20%20%20%20Jarett%20Dillard,%20Jr.,%20RiceWR%20%20%20%20%20Emmanuel%20Sanders,%20So.,%20SMUWR%20%20%20%20%20Donnie%20Avery,%20Sr.,%20HoustonTE%20%20%20%20%20Shawn%20Nelson,%20Jr.,%20Southern%20Miss%3Cbr%3E%3Cstrong%3EFIRST%20TEAM%20DEFENSE%3C/strong%3EDL%20%20%20%20%20Albert%20McClellan,%20Jr.,%20MarshallDL%20%20%20%20%20Martavius%20Prince,%20Sr.,%20Southern%20MissDL%20%20%20%20%20Marcus%20Hands,%20Jr.,%20East%20CarolinaDL%20%20%20%20%20Philip%20Hunt,%20Jr.,%20HoustonLB%20%20%20%20%20Joe%20Henderson,%20Jr.,%20UABLB%20%20%20%20%20Brian%20Raines,%20Jr.,%20RiceLB%20%20%20%20%20Nelson%20Coleman,%20Sr.,%20TulsaDB%20%20%20%20%20Quintin%20Demps,%20Sr.,%20UTEPDB%20%20%20%20%20Brandon%20Sumrall,%20Sr.,%20Southern%20MissDB%20%20%20%20%20Will%20Dunbar,%20Sr.,%20UABDB%20%20%20%20%20Kenneth%20Fontenette,%20Jr.,%20Houston%3Cbr%3E%3Cstrong%3EFIRST%20TEAM%20SPECIAL%20TEAMS%3C/strong%3EK%20%20%20%20%20%20Ben%20Bell,%20Jr.,%20HoustonP%20%20%20%20%20%20Thomas%20Morstead,%20Jr.,%20SMUKR%20%20%20%20%20Chris%20Johnson,%20Sr.,%20East%20Carolina%3Cstrong%3EPR%20%20%20%20%20%3Cahref="http: www.fansonly.com/schools/ucf/sports/m-footbl/mtt/burnett_joe00.html"="">Joe Burnett, Jr., UCF="http:>