Created:Wednesday, November 30, 2011 12:32 p.m.CDT

Harnish wins Vern Smith Award

Northern Illinois senior quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the 30th Vern Smith Leadership Award winner Wednesday, as voted on by the conference head coaches. The award is presented annually to the Mid-American Conference’s top football player in honor of Vern Smith, Toledo's former athletic director.

Harnish led NIU to a 7-1 conference record, 9-3 overall, and is the first quarterback to go 15-1 in MAC regular-season games in more than a decade. He also is on pace to become the first player in college football history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500. His 1,351 rushing yards is 12th in the country and best among quarterbacks, and he has thrown for 2,692 yards, 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season.

On his career, Harnish needs 45 rushing yards to become only the third quarterback in FBS history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 8,000 yards in a career.

Here's a look at other awards voted on by the MAC News Media Association:

Offensive Player of the Year

Chandler Harnish, NIU: See above.

Defensive Player of the Year

Drew Nowak, Western Michigan defensive tackle: Nowak's production from the interior defensive line was remarkable. The senior had 83 tackles and tied for the lead in the MAC with 8.5 sacks. He also ranked second in the league with 20 tackles for loss.

Special Teams Player of the Year

Matt Weller, Ohio kicker: Weller leads the MAC with 22 field goals out of his 30 attempts. At Bowling Green on Nov. 16, he booted a career-high five field goals, including the game-winner that sealed the East Division championship for the Bobcats.

Coach of the Year:

Ron English, Eastern Michigan: The Eagles were picked to finish fifth of six teams in the MAC West, but English led them to a 6-6 record, 4-4 in the MAC, and wins over Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Eastern Michigan finished 2-22 the past two years.

Freshman of the Year

Anthon Samuel, Bowling Green running back: Samuel rushed for 844 yards on 144 carries (5.86 yards per carry), breaking the Falcons' freshman record for rushing yards in a season.

Also Wednesday, the all-MAC teams (voted on by the coaches) were announced. Here is a look at the three teams.

2011 All-MAC First Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois @

Center – Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois @

Offensive Linemen – Mike VanDerMeulen, Toledo %

Offensive Lineman – Trevor Olson, Northern Illinois @

Offensive Lineman – Joe Flading, Ohio @&

Offensive Linemen – Pat Boyle, Temple

Tight End – Evan Rodriquez, Temple @

Wide Receiver – Jordan White, Western Michigan @

Wide Receiver – Eric Page, Toledo @!

Wide Receiver – Nick Harwell, Miami #

Wide Receiver – Kamar Jorden, Bowling Green @

Running Back - Bernard Pierce, Temple @ ^

Running Back –Branden Oliver, Buffalo

Kicker –Mathew Sims, Northern Illinois

2011 All-MAC First Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker –Aaron Morris, Ball State

Outside Linebacker – Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Inside Linebacker – Brian Wagner, Akron !

Inside Linebacker - Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green #

Down Lineman – Roosevelt Nix, Kent State @

Down Lineman – Adrian Robinson, Temple @ ^

Down Lineman – Chris Jones, Bowling Green %

Down Lineman – Drew Nowak, Western Michigan

Defensive Back – Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan %

Defensive Back – Dayonne Nunley, Miami

Defensive Back – Desmond Marrow, Toledo

Defensive Back – Sean Baker, Ball State #

Punter – Brian Schmeidebusch, Bowling Green

2011 All-MAC First Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – Eric Page, Toledo @

Punt Return Specialist –Eric Page, Toledo

2011 All-MAC Second Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Alex Carder, Western Michigan %

Center – Zac Kerin, Toledo

Offensive Lineman - Brandon Brooks, Miami # !

Offensive Lineman – Jordan Hansel, Ball State

Offensive Lineman – Brian Winters, Kent State %

Offensive Lineman – Eric Herman, Ohio

Tight End – David Blackburn, Central Michigan

Wide Receiver – LaVon Brazill, Ohio !

Wide Receiver – Briggs Orsbon, Ball State

Wide Receiver – Perez Ashford, Northern Illinois

Wide Receiver – Marcus Rivers, Buffalo

Running Back – Adonis Thomas, Toledo #
Running Back – Jasmin Hopkins, Northern Illinois

Placekicker – Matt Weller, Ohio ^

2011 All-MAC Second Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker – C.J. Malauulu, Kent State

Outside Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead, Temple

Inside Linebacker – Travis Freeman, Ball State

Inside Linebacker – Noah Keller, Ohio ! +

Down Lineman – Sean Progar, Northern Illinois @

Down Lineman – Tremayne Scott, Ohio

Down Lineman – Nate Ollie, Ball State

Down Lineman – Brad Ohrman, Eastern Michigan

Defensive Back – Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan

Defensive Back – Josh Pleasant, Kent State
Defensive Back – Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

Defensive Back – Travis Carrie, Ohio

Punter – Brandon McManus, Temple

2011 All-MAC Second Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green

Punt Return Specialist – Jamill Smith, Ball State

2011 All-MAC Third Team Offense

Position – Name - School

Quarterback – Tyler Tettleton, Ohio

Center –Ben Bojicic, Bowling Green

Offensive Lineman – Dann O’Neill, Western Michigan

Offensive Lineman – Wayne Tribue, Temple

Offensive Lineman – Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

Offensive Lineman – A.J. Strum, Ohio #

Tight End – Garrett Hoskins, Eastern Michigan

Wide Receiver – Nate Palmer, Northern Illinois

Wide Receiver –Titus Davis, Central Michigan

Wide Receiver – Cody Wilson, Central Michigan #

Wide Receiver – Chleb Ravenell, Western Michigan

Running Back – Donte’ Harden, Ohio

Running Back – Matt Brown, Temple #

Placekicker – John Potter, Western Michigan %

2011 All-MAC Third Team Defense

Position – Name - School

Outside Linebacker – Justin Cudworth, Eastern Michigan

Outside Linebacker – Jerrell Wedge, Miami

Inside Linebacker – Luke Batton, Kent State

Inside Linebacker – Ryan Kennedy, Miami

Down Lineman – Austin Brown, Miami #

Down Lineman – Morkeith Brown, Temple

Down Lineman – Freddie Bishop, Western Michigan

Down Lineman – T.J. Fatinikun, Toledo %

Defensive Back – Latarrius Thomas, Eastern Michigan

Defensive Back – Kevin Kroboth, Temple

Defensive Back – Luke Wollet, Kent State

Defensive Back – Marlon Pollard, Eastern Michigan

Punter – Scott Kovanda, Ball State

All-MAC Third Team Specialists

Position – Name - School

Kickoff Return Specialist – Donte’ Harden, Ohio

Punt Return Specialist – Terrell Jackson, Buffalo @

@ 2010 First team All-MAC

# 2010 Second team All-MAC

% 2010 Third team All-MAC

^ 2009 First team All-MAC

! 2009 Second team All-MAC

& 2009 Third team All-MAC

~ 2008 First team All-MAC

+ 2008 Second team All-MAC

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?