Beau Knows Award|
Dec. 4, 2007
LAS VEGAS - UNLV senior linebacker and co-captain Beau Bell (Tustin, CA) was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year as the league announced its official postseason awards on Tuesday.
Bell, who was also named First Team All-MWC, is the fourth Rebel in history to earn a league's player of the award on defense, joining two-time winner Jamaal Brimmer (2002, '03/media only), Kevin Thomas (2001) and Aaron Moog (1984). Bell is also the first UNLV linebacker to earn such an honor.
"It's a big deal being named the player of the year for this conference because the coaches vote along with the media," said Bell. "We worked hard all year as a team and this is a great way to wrap up my college career. Despite our final record I had a lot of fun playing with these guys and will never forget my senior year as a Rebel."
Bell, who leaves UNLV as its second-leading career tackler with 320, became the first player in league history to be named MWC Defensive Player of the Week three times in one season. He turned in the sixth-most tackles in school history with 126 as a senior, which leads the MWC and ranks 20th in the nation. He also stands 11th nationally with 6.58 solo tackles per game.
Not just a tackling machine, however, Bell was a playmaker all over the field, tying for fourth in the nation with five forced fumbles and ranking fifth in the MWC with a team-leading four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown at Wyoming. He also led his team with 9.5 tackles for loss, ranked second with three QB sacks and third on the squad with three pass breakups. The fourth player in UNLV history to be invited to play in the Senior Bowl, Bell had eight double-digit tackle games, including a season-high 15 (11 solo) at New Mexico to close his illustrious college career.
"Beau Bell made a decision in the spring and summer to be a great player and he went out and made that a reality in the fall," said UNLV head coach Mike Sanford. "He gave us both great performance and leadership and will leave that legacy for the future of this program."
Joining Bell on the all-league teams was senior cornerback Mil'Von James (Los Angeles, CA), who was voted Second Team All-MWC after leading the nation in pass breakups with 19. The former UCLA transfer had 45 total tackles, including 29 solo, two forced fumbles and one interception in leading a defensive secondary that ranks 23rd nationally in passing yards allowed with 203 per game.
Also, a trio of Rebel standouts earned honorable mention: sophomore WR Ryan Wolfe (Santa Clarita, CA), junior running back Frank "The Tank" Summers (Oakland, CA) and freshman OL Matt Murphy (Lake Forest, CA). Wolfe led UNLV with 66 receptions for 784 yards and two touchdowns. Summers, who finished with 928 rushing yards, became the first Rebel in history to outright lead the team in both rushing TDs (six) and receiving TDs (four) in the same season. Murphy was a rare true freshman starter at left tackle who consistently graded out among the highest among Rebel blockers.
The MWC awards were voted on by the nine head coaches and a panel of 16 members of the media. Air Force RB/WR Chad Hall was named MWC Offensive Player of the Year, BYU RB Harvey Unga was named the league's Freshman of the Year and Air Force's Troy Calhoun was voted Coach of the Year.
UNLV ALL-TIME CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR2007 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE FOOTBALL AWARDS Offensive Player of the Year Chad Hall, Sr., RB/WR, Air Force