Created:Thursday, December 1, 2011 5:30 a.m.CDT

Harnish named Vern Smith Award winner


DeKALB – Already on a record-setting pace, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish helped the program set another on Wednesday.

The senior won the Vern Smith Leadership Award, the Mid-American Conference player of the year award voted on annually by the league's coaches. He is the fifth Huskie player to receive the award the past six years, joining Garrett Wolfe, Chad Spann and two-time winner Larry English. Marshall had four Vern Smith winners from 1997 to 2002, including Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and two-time winner Byron Leftwich.

Harnish is the first NIU quarterback to win the award since Tim Tyrrell in 1983. With 2,692 passing yards and 1,351 rushing yards (ranked 12th in the country), Harnish is on pace to become the first college football player ever to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,500. He has 23 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions, and has run for 11 touchdowns.

"I'm still having trouble processing [the fact that I won]," Harnish said in a news release. "I am so proud that an NIU player has won this award in five of the last six years, and to be to recognized with them, and be the first Huskie quarterback since Tim Tyrrell to win this award, is an awesome feeling."

Harnish, also the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, was one of four NIU players on the all-MAC first team. Center Scott Wedige, left tackle Trevor Olson and kicker Mathew Sims also made the first team. Receiver Perez Ashford, running back Jasmin Hopkins, defensive end Sean Progar and defensive back Jimmie Ward made the second team, while receiver Nate Palmer was on the third team.

"When you are on a winning team, you are going to have guys that get rewarded," Doeren said in a news release. "The guys that were second and third team were certainly deserving, and played a big role on our team. I think our offensive line deserved more than we got. We had two more senior offensive linemen in Joe Pawlak and Keith Otis that I feel could have been on this list, but our choices were limited.

"Defensively this [all-MAC] team illustrates what we are - we are young and we are a work in progress. To be in the championship game and have only two defensive players on any of the three all-MAC teams shows what our coaches and players have done collectively on that side of the ball. It's a tribute to the way that whole unit has worked and developed throughout the season."

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?