Dec. 6, 2011
Albuquerque, N.M. --- University of New Mexico senior linebacker Carmen Messina on Tuesday earned first-team All-Mountain West honors, as voted by Mountain West football coaches and media.
The Lobos had three honorees on the postseason team; redshirt freshman wide receiver Deon Long was named to the second-team all-conference, and senior wolf safety Bubba Forrest received an honorable mention credit.
Messina, a 6-foot-2, 236-pound product of Addison, Ill., led the MW in tackles and finished tied for sixth in the nation with 142 tackles in 2011. He had a career-high 21 tackles in the season finale at Boise State on Saturday, and his first tackle of evening made him the conference's all-time leader in tackles. He entered the game tied with UNLV's Adam Seward (2001-04) but now has the record to himself with 454 career stops. Messina has led the MW in tackles for three consecutive seasons.
Messina also passed former Lobo All-America Brian Urlacher for third place on the school's all-time tackles list. Urlacher had 442 tackles during his career from 1996-99. Messina had double-digit tackles in his last seven games and nine of his last 10.
He also had a career-high 12.5 tackles for loss, tied a career high with three sacks, intercepted his first pass (against Arkansas on Sept. 10), forced a fourth-quarter fumble that set up UNM's game-winning drive during a 21-14 win over UNLV on Nov. 12 and had three pass breakups.
The honor was Messina's second first-team all-conference honor; he also was a first-teamer in 2009. Messina was on the second team in 2010.
Long (Washington D.C.) led the Mountain West in receiving yards with an average of 80.9 per game. He finished fourth in the conference in total receiving yards with 809 and tied for fifth in receptions with 47, despite missing two games and being hobbled in two others that restricted his playing time. Long tied Ty Kirk for the team lead in receptions.
Long is the first freshman ever to earn a second-team all-conference honor. Only UNLV's Ryan Wolfe (2006) received more acclaim as a freshman, earning first-team honors.
Long set a UNM and a Mountain West record for all-purpose yards in a single game with his 378-yard effort against Sam Houston State on Sept. 24. Long had career highs with nine receptions, 209 yards and three TDs. He also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return.
His 80-yard touchdown reception on the first play from scrimmage in the win over UNLV tied for the longest reception this season in the MW.
Forrest (Carlsbad, N.M.) was second on the team and sixth in the conference with an average of 7.7 tackles per game. Forrest had 85 stops on the season, despite missing one game because of a shoulder injury.
He had three double-digit tackle games on the season, including 10 in the season-finale against Boise State, and he finishe the year with two tackles for loss, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.