The All-Sun Belt Conference team is expected to be released at some point on Tuesday. I do not have a vote in the selection, but here are my Panther picks for the All-Sun Belt team. Send in your picks and let's see how we compare.
You can probably take it to the bank that No. 4 is going to be on a lot of voters' ballots.
Kedrick Rhodes -- FIU's second 1,000-yard rusher after Rashod Smith (1,133 yards) with 1,121 yards. Ked (left) is third in the conference in rushing and the leader of a very healthy FIU running game. Ked also became a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield as the season progressed.
T.Y. Hilton (above right) -- Any questions?
Jack Griffin -- Inexplicably left off the All-Sun Belt team last year after leading the conference in every kicking category. Jack is back at it this year. Jack is second in the conference in scoring to WKU running back Bobby Rainey (likely the SBC Player of the Year). Jack has the most field goals made in the SBC with 21 and counting. Jack is the only SBC kicker that is perfect in extra points this season (35 for 35).
Winston Fraser -- Leads the nation's No. 16 scoring defense with 107 tackles. Ranks fourth in the conference with 107 tackles. Winston (right) helped fill the leadership void left by the graduation of Little Canada.
Tourek Williams -- Wreaked havoc in opposing backfields all season. Leads the Panthers with 12 tackles for loss and is second on the team with 4.5 sacks. Tourek ranks ninth in the SBC in sacks and seventh in tackles for loss. He's only a junior so expect those numbers to rise next season.
Justin Halley -- Tied for second in the Sun Belt with four interceptions. Leads the team with 10 passes defended and is second with six pass break-ups. Emerged in the middle of the season and just got better as the season progressed.
Jonathan Cyprien -- With the loss of Chuck Grace to injury, Cyp (left) anchored the secondary. He ranks fourth among DBs in the SBC in tackles with 74 and is second on the team to Winston. Has caught the eye of NFL scouts, as one AFC scout said at the Middle Tennessee game, "No. 7 is a tackling machine".
Greg Hickman -- Started strong again and came on late in the season. Leads the team with five sacks and is second in tackles for loss with 11. Ranks eighth in the conference in both sacks and tackles for loss.
Jordan Hunt -- Steady play all season long. Third on the team in tackles with 72 and in tackles for loss with 9.5. Really solidified the linebacker position along with Winston. Like the majority of the FIU defense, he will be back for his senior season.
Sam Miller -- I wrote here during the off-season 7-on-7s that Sam Miller was a playmaker back then and he kept at it during the season. For some time he led the team in sacks and is fifth on the team in tackles with 52 and tied for second in interceptions with two. Has a nose for the football with two fumble recoveries. Just a sophomore, Sam (right, intercepting a pass) is part of a young, but very promising FIU secondary.
Josh Brisk -- Improved greatly from last season. Is second in the conference in punting with a 42.2 average. Had a season-high 67-yard punt at WKU. Hit punts of 50 yards or more in 8 of FIU's 12 games this season.
Shae Smith -- Seamless transition from JUCO to Division I. Shae took hold of the starting left guard job and never let go. Solid run and pass blocking.
Caylin Hauptmann -- Continued his strong work from the 2010 season. Along with the rest of the FIU offensive line, combined to pave the way for FIU's second-best rushing season ever (1,805 yards). The O-line also allowed the second fewest sacks in program history with 13.
Wesley Carroll -- This season Wes has the second-best pass efficiency mark (134.00) in FIU's 10-year history (141.5, Jamie Burke in 2002). Wes's pass efficiency number is good for third in the conference. With just four interceptions this season, Wes will likely break Paul McCall's FIU record for fewest interceptions in a season (8 in 2009). However, Wes likely gets overlooked by the conference voters because three other quarterbacks have loftier numbers.
Wayne Times -- Dependable set of hands. Filled in nicely both receiving and returning kicks when T.Y. was limited by injury in the middle part of the season. Helped FIU to victory against Troy with a 76-yard touchdown reception. Also helped the Panthers get back in the game against Louisiana with a 69-yard kick return.
Isame Faciane -- Doesn't have the big overall numbers, but is a force on the interior defensive line for the Panthers. Fourth on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss. Had a huge 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Central Florida that sparked the FIU comeback in the 17-10 win.
GUESS THE FIU BOWL & OPPONENT WINNERS
We had 421 entries into our "Guess the FIU Bowl & Opponent Contest" and only two of our readers got the correct bowl and opponent. Our winners are: Arroz Con Pollo and FIU4Ever who both wrote in that FIU would play Marshall in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. If you two good people e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the address where you would like your winning Sun Belt Conference Football 10th Anniversary Book sent to, then I will get it to you.
**Thanks Richard Lewis photos (Hilton, Rhodes, Fraser, Cyprien); thanks Sam Lewis photo (Miller).