NCF Nation: Mana Silva

Top non-AQ players, defense

January, 24, 2011
Earlier today I did a post with the top non-AQ offensive players, according to the final NCAA stats. Now let us take a look at the top NCAA defensive players from the non-AQs.

We start with tackles. Seven of the top 10 leaders in tackles per game came from non-AQ teams:

No. 3 Jamon Hughes, Memphis, 12.25

No. 4 Mario Harvey, Marshall, 11.92

No. 5 Archie Donald, Toledo, 11.23

No. 6 Dwayne Woods Jr., Bowling Green, 11.17

t. No. 7 Bobby Wagner, Utah State, 11.08

t. No. 7 Craig Robertson, North Texas, 11.08

No. 10 Dan Molls, Toledo, 11

Only three of these players return for next season -- Woods, Wagner and Molls. Donald and Molls formed one of the best linebacker duos in the nation if you want to look at their numbers alone. Donald finished with 146 total tackles, while Molls had 143. The only other school with two tacklers in the top 30 was Akron with Brian Wagner (130) and Mike Thomas (113).

Next up: sacks. Five of the top 10 in the NCAA stats are from non-AQ schools.

No. 4 Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy, 13.5 (1.04 pg)

No. 5 Vinny Curry, Marshall, 12 (1.0 pg)

No. 7 Jamari Lattimore, Middle Tennessee, 11.5 (0.88 per game)

No. 8 Mario Addison, Troy, 10.5 (0.88 per game)

No. 9 Chris Carter, Fresno State, 11 (0.88 per game)

Just missing the list is Kent State true freshman Roosevelt Nix, who will most definitely be a player to watch for 2011. Nix had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in his debut season, en route to winning MAC defensive player of the year honors. Troy will lose one member of its sack duo -- Addison just finished his senior season. So did Lattimore and Carter. Massaquoi is an early candidate for Sun Belt defensive player of the year. The honors went to Lattimore this past season.

Finally, we take a look at interceptions. Many non-AQ players made the list here if you want to count total interceptions:

No. 3 Mana Silva, Hawaii, 8 (0.57 pg)

t. No. 5 Dexter McCoil, Tulsa, 6 (0.5 pg)

t. No. 5 Sean Baker, Ball State

t. No. 5 Domonic Cook, Buffalo

t. No. 10 Marco Nelson, Tulsa (.046 pg)

t. No. 13 Evan Harris, Miami (Ohio), (0.43 pg)

t. No. 13 Dayonne Nunley, Miami (0.43 pg)

Everybody on the list but Silva had six interceptions this past season. Impressive to see duos from Tulsa and Miami on the list. Each of those players returns for 2011. There were only three seniors on this list -- Baker, Cook and Silva.
Hawaii and Tulsa are two of the most prolific offenses in the country, a big reason why the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Friday night is one of the most attractive of the non-BCS games. Who doesn’t love offensive fireworks? Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz and Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne are sure to oblige. But there are also some big-time players on defense to keep an eye on: Hawaii middle linebacker Corey Paredes and free safety Mana Silva and Tulsa freshman safety Marco Nelson. Here is a quick preview.

WHO TO WATCH: With so many good players in this game, it is hard to pick just one. But I am going to go with somebody off the radar, a player you will hear more about in my preview video. That is Tulsa all-purpose player Damaris Johnson. He led the nation in all-purpose yards for a second straight year and is set to become the NCAA career leader in all-purpose yards. He is small at 5-foot-8, but he is used in many difference places on the field, so watch for him.

WHAT TO WATCH: Offense, silly! Moniz and Kinne are getting the attention, but some of the more intriguing battles in this game are going to come between the receivers and cornerbacks. Hawaii receivers Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares present matchup problems for a Tulsa secondary that ranks second-to-last in passing defense. Nelson is a true freshman, but he is capable of making huge plays. For Tulsa, Johnson and H-back Charles Clay could have a tough time against a Hawaii secondary that has 23 interceptions this season. Silva is tied for the nation lead with eight. Paredes also plays the pass well, so the Golden Hurricane are going to have their hands full.

WHY TO WATCH: Face it, you are probably going to still be wrapping presents on Friday night, and watching an entertaining game will certainly help pass the tedium of cutting and taping. It’s not often that Hawaii is showcased during prime-time, because most of its games start when most of the East Coast has gone to sleep. But the Warriors play an exciting brand of offensive football with a version of the Run N Shoot. Plus, Moniz will be back for his senior season and should be a 2011 preseason player to watch. Kinne also returns for his senior season along with 16 starters, and that could make the Golden Hurricane a preseason favorite to win Conference USA.

PREDICTION: I have agonized long over this one, because I think both teams can win. Ultimately, I am going with Hawaii 44, Tulsa 38 because the Warriors will be able to take advantage of a weaker Tulsa defense. Non-AQ all-conference team

December, 8, 2010
Coming up with the all non-AQ team is never easy, because there are so many good players across all five conferences, Army and Navy. Unfortunately, many talented players get left off this list because there isn't room for everybody.

I tried to pick the players who had the most outstanding seasons at their respective positions. The toughest positions for me to pick were defensive line, receiver and linebacker, where I had 10 worthy candidates to whittle down.

It was also tough selecting a quarterback, so I went with two: Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore of Boise State and record-setting Colin Kaepernick of Nevada. Both had incredible seasons worthy of recognition. My lone Sun Belt selection had the best player in the conference -- Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey, who ran for 1,649 yards on an astounding 340 carries, with 15 touchdowns.

My lone MAC selection was KR Eric Page, who led the nation with three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Here is the complete list. Feel free to debate in the comments section.


QB – Kellen Moore, Boise State; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

RB – Bobby Rainey, Jr., Western Kentucky

RB – Vai Taua, Sr., Nevada

AP – Damaris Johnson, Jr., Tulsa

WR – Greg Salas, Sr., Hawaii

WR – Titus Young, Sr., Boise State

TE – Virgil Green, Sr., Nevada

OL -- Matt Reynolds, Jr., BYU

OL – Marcus Cannon, Sr., TCU

OL – Nate Potter, Jr., Boise State

OL – Rob McGill, Sr., Louisiana Tech

C -- Zane Taylor, Sr., Utah


DL -- Chris Carter, Sr., Fresno State

DL – Vinny Curry, Jr., Marshall

DL – Dontay Moch, Sr., Nevada

DL – Shea McClellin, Jr., Boise State

LB – Tank Carder, Jr., TCU

LB – Corey Paredes, Jr., Hawaii

LB -- Mario Harvey, Sr., Marshall

DB – Reggie Rembert, Sr., Air Force

DB – Mana Silva, Sr., Hawaii

DB – Tejay Johnson, Sr., TCU

DB – George Iloka, Boise State


K – Danny Hrapmann, Jr., Southern Miss

P – Kyle Martens, Jr., Rice

KR – Eric Page, So., Toledo

PR – Shaky Smithson, Sr., Utah

Hawaii Warriors season recap

December, 7, 2010
Hawaii finished just short of a bowl bid last season, but hopes were high going into 2010 with the return of quarterback Bryant Moniz. The junior emerged as the starter after walking onto the team and finding himself sixth on the depth chart. But he worked his way up and got into the lineup after several injuries gave the Warriors no other choice. Still, nobody could have anticipated the giant leap Moniz took this season. He threw for a nation-leading 4,629 yards and 36 touchdowns, making Hawaii one of the most prolific offenses in the country. He had help of course from Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares, who combined for nearly 3,000 yards and 27 of those touchdown passes. Salas has caught a pass in 40 straight games en route to All-WAC first-team honors. Let’s not forget the Warriors also had a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 1992 in Alex Green. Hawaii scored 40 or more points in eight games this season and topped the nation in passing.

Defensively, linebacker Corey Paredes had a monster season with 144 tackles, and safety Mana Silva was tied for the nation lead with eight interceptions. Kicker Scott Enos also ended the regular season converting a school-record 100 straight extra-point attempts. Hawaii may have gotten blown out by Boise State, but the Warriors beat Nevada and that was good enough to win a share of the WAC championship. The Warriors also won 10 games for just the sixth time in school history.

Offensive MVP: QB Bryant Moniz. What more can you say about a guy who had to take a side job delivering pizzas when he first walked on at Hawaii? Moniz exceeded all expectations with his incredible season. His total passing yards were the second-highest total in school history, and he set the school single-game passing record with 560 yards against San Jose State.

Defensive MVP: LB Corey Paredes. He led the team in tackles, and ranked 11th in the nation. Not only that, Paredes was a key member of a defense that led all FBS teams in turnovers forced with 36, including a nation-leading 23 interceptions.

Turning point: A 27-21 win over Nevada on Oct. 16 set the stage for the Warriors to become co-WAC champs. They did an excellent job shutting down Colin Kaepernick and forcing him into four turnovers.

What’s next: Hawaii plays Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24, and could be the favorite in the WAC next season with Boise State leaving for the Mountain West and Nevada losing Kaepernick, Vai Taua and Dontay Moch.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 1, 2010
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference:

Conference USA

Offense: UAB running back Pat Shed, UCF running back Ronnie Weaver. Shed ran for a career-best 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 50-49 double overtime win against Southern Miss. He finished with 235 all-purpose yards as the Blazers posted their first win in Roberts Stadium. Weaver ran for a career-high 180 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns in a 49-35 win against East Carolina.

Defense: Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson. His interception with 37 second left in the first half gave Tulsa the momentum in its 28-27 win against Notre Dame. He also had six tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries.

Special teams: Tulsa punt returner Damaris Johnson. Had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown, the second of his career in the win. He is 25 yards shy of tying the Conference USA all-time kickoff return record.


East Division

Offense: Miami receiver Nick Harwell. Had eight receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-9 win at Buffalo.

Defense: Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones. Had six tackles, five tackles for loss, three and a half sacks and recovered a fumble in a 17-14 win at Central Michigan.

Special Teams: Kent State punter Matt Rinehart. Averaged 52 yards on four punts as the Flashes posted a 43-yard net in a 33-14 win against Ball State.

West Division

Offense: Western Michigan receiver Jordan White. Had a career-high 14 receptions for a career-high 180 yards and one touchdown in a 28-21 loss to Northern Illinois.

Defense: Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman. He had four tackles and the game-saving interception on Western Michigan’s final offensive play to seal the win.

Special Teams: Toledo punter Vince Penza. Averaged 40.6 yards on five punts in the Rockets' 42-7 win at Eastern Michigan.

Mountain West

Offense: San Diego State receiver DeMarco Sampson. Had seven receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-38 win against Wyoming. He has three straight 100-yard games.

Defense: Utah safety Brian Blechen. Had a career-high nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in a 28-23 win at Air Force.

Special teams: San Diego State punter Brian Stahovich. Kicked the longest punt in San Diego State history at 89 yards in the second half against Wyoming. It was his only punt of the day.

Sun Belt

Offense: North Texas running back Lance Dunbar. Ran for a season-high 215 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-6 win at Western Kentucky. The 215 yards was the most by any player in the Sun Belt this season and the third-highest rushing total in the nation this week.

Defense: ULM Darius Prelow. Had six tackles and an interception in a 28-14 upset win against Troy. The defense held Troy to its lowest point total in a Sun Belt game since 2006.

Co-Special Teams: Louisiana kicker Brett Baer, North Texas kicker Zach Olen. Baer made a field goal and four extra-point attempts, and had two perfectly placed onside kicks in a loss at Ohio. Olen made two field goals, including a 48-yarder, the longest by a North Texas kicker since 2005.


Offense: Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz. Went 27-of-38 for 326 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win against Idaho. He also rushed seven times for 43 yards and another score. Moniz is the first quarterback in the nation to reach 3,000 yards this season (3,247).

Defense: Hawaii S Mana Silva. Had nine tackles (six solo), including one for a loss of 13 yards, and intercepted a pass in the win against Idaho.

Special teams: New Mexico State kicker Tyler Stampler. Went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in a 29-27 win against San Jose State. He made a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and then added a 25- and a career-long 43-yarder in the fourth quarter of a tight game.