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May 28, 2013

Tiger Players Receive Recognition from Preseason Publications

While it may still be May and more than three months until the Memphis Tigers open the 2013 football season, Athlon Sports' College Football has hit magazine racks and Phil Steele's College Football Preview has announced its 2013 Preseason All-American Athletic Conference Team.

The Tigers, one of 10 teams set to play in The American in 2013, had several players named to both publications' preseason all-conference teams headlined by defensive lineman Johnnie Farms, who was named to Phil Steele's First-Team Defense, and tight end Alan Cross, who was named First-Team Offense by Athlon.

Also named to Phil Steele's First-Team Special Teams unit was kick returner Bobby McCain and punt returner Keiwone Malone.

Farms, who enters his senior season, has totaled 89 total tackles during his career at Memphis including 17.5 tackles for lost yards (61 yards) and 4.5 quarterback sacks (33 yards). He was an All-Conference USA Second Team selection by the league's coaches in 2012.

Cross was selected to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2012 after starting 10 games as a redshirt freshman. He led the Tigers in receiving touchdowns with five including three in the last two games of the season. For the year, Cross caught 23 passes for 301 yards.

Cross was also named to Phil Steele's Fourth-Team Offense.

In addition to catching 44 passes for 476 yards and three touchdowns last year as a sophomore, Malone ranked 17th nationally in punt returns with an 11.86 yards per return average.

McCain started all 12 games at cornerback last year as a sophomore. He set a single-game record with the highest kickoff return average (43.7 yards per return) against Duke. He finished the year with a 25.8 yards per return average.

Memphis defensive end Martin Ifedi was a Second-Team Defense selection of both publications while punter Tom Hornsey was also named to both publications' Second-Team Special Teams unit.

Ifedi led Memphis in 2012 with 11 tackles for lost yards (51 yards) and 7.5 quarterback sacks. He started 10 games last year as a sophomore.

Hornsey will begin his senior season as the school's all-time leader in punts and punt yardage. Last year he ranked 19th nationally in punting average at 43.43 yards per punt . He placed 25 of his 60 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line (42 percent).

Running back Brandon Hayes, offensive lineman Antonio Foster, linebacker Anthony Brown and defensive back Lonnie Ballentine were all named to Phil Steele's Fourth-Team.

Athon Sports' publication includes an analysis of all 125 NCAA Division I FBS teams and ranked teams and individuals through several lists.

University of Memphis head coach Justin Fuente was No. 5 in a ranking of all 28 new coaches from 2012 by the publication.

The University of Memphis closed out the 2012 season with a three-game winning streak to finish the year 4-8 and 4-4 in its final year in Conference USA.

The Tigers open the 2013 season at home in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Sept. 7th by playing host to Duke. Memphis' first league game as a member of the American Athletic Conference is Oct. 5th when the Tigers play host to UCF.

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