PISCATAWAY, NJ – Senior Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) has been named the number one fullback in the nation, and is one of six members of the Rutgers University football team to earn spots on The Sporting News 2006 Pre-Season All-BIG EAST teams, according to TSN’s 2006 National College Football Yearbook, which will be available next month.
Rutgers senior Clark Harris (Manahawkin, NJ) was tabbed as the nation’s number two tight end, and classmate Willie Foster (Miami, FL) was ranked as the number 13 return man in the nation, while sophomore Courtney Greene (New Rochelle, NY) was named the nation’s number 15 free safety.
Harris and Foster were also named The Sporting News first-team All-BIG EAST, while Leonard and Greene were named to the All-BIG EAST second team. In addition, senior defensive tackle Ramel Meekins (Westwood, NJ) and junior kicker Jeremy Ito (Redlands, CA) were named to the Sporting News’ All-BIG EAST second team.
In 2005, the 6-2, 235-pound Leonard was named All-America by Pro Football Weekly for the second consecutive season. He led the Scarlet Knights in receptions (55), scoring (102 points) and all-purpose yards (1,308). Leonard also earned All-BIG EAST recognition and was a member of the Doak Walker Watch List of for the second straight year. Leonard enters the 2006 campaign second in career scoring at Rutgers with 242 points, which is 19 points shy of the all-time leader, and is sixth all-time at Rutgers in rushing yardage (2,352 yards). He ranks fifth all-time at RU in rushing touchdowns (27), third all-time in RU career receptions (169) and eighth all-time in career receiving yards (1,527).
The 6-6, 255-pound Harris Earned First Team All-BIG EAST honors for a second consecutive year in 2005. A member of the Mackey and Rotary/Lombardi Watch Lists, Harris last season extended his consecutive game reception streak to 30 games, which he carries into the 2006 campaign. He caught 38 passes for 584 yards and four touchdowns and ranked first among BIG EAST tight ends in receiving yards per game (48.7) and receptions per game (3.17). Harris enters the 2006 season in ninth place on the RU all-time receiving yardage list (1523) and tied with teammate Shawn Tucker for 10th on the Rutgers all-time receptions list with 109.
Foster (5-10, 170) was named BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year, as well as first-team All-BIG EAST in 2005. He returned 30 kickoffs for 736 yards (24.5 avg.), including a 93-yard return for a touchdown to open play vs. Villanova (9/10) and earned BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance. Returned 15 punts for 164 yards (10.9), including his first career punt return for a TD against Pittsburgh (71 yards, 9/30). He earned BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his effort and, in the process, became the first Scarlet Knight since 1980 to return a kickoff and a punt for a TD in the same season. His 10.9 punt return average was third in the BIG EAST and 25th nationally, while his 24.5-yard kickoff return average ranked third in the conference and 34th in the country. Foster also averaged 16.1 yards per catch on eight receptions last season.
Greene (6-1, 180) had a stellar freshman campaign that was highlighted by his being named Freshman All-American by The Sporting News, Rivals.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and Football Writers Association of America Scripps. He led Rutgers in tackles with 116, including 68 solo stops. Greene, who was a starter as a true freshman coming out of training camp, started all 12 games, ranked second in the BIG EAST and tied for 25th nationally in tackles per game (9.7). He also ranked 36th nationally in solo tackles (5.7) and posted double-digit stops in eight of Rutgers’ 12 contests.
Meekins (6-0, 280) earned a starting assignment at defensive tackle in the 2005 training camp and turned in an outstanding season. He finished fifth on the team in tackles (63), second in TFLs (15.0) and third in sacks (9.0). Meekins also ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in both sacks and TFLs. He tied for 30th nationally in sacks per game (0.75) and tied for 42nd in TFLs per game (1.25). He had a career-high 10 tackles and a RU season-high four sacks for a loss of 38 yards in RU’s regular-season finale against Cincinnati (11/26), leading a defensive unit that posted nine sacks against the Bearcats. He also had two QB hurries vs. Cincinnati and was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Bearcats.
Ito (5-11, 180) led the BIG EAST in field goals per game (1.67) in 2005, and was second in the Conference in field goal percentage (74.1%). Ito was fifth in the league in scoring (8.33 points per game), and 27th nationally. He was a perfect 40-of-40 on extra point attempts, and hit on 20-of-27 field goals, including eight from 40 yards or more. Ito hit his last 10 field goal attempts, including 4-of-4 in the Insight Bowl, with a career (and bowl record) 52-yarder.