Central Arkansas, Sam Houston headline All-Southland picks

(STATS) - People outside the Southland Conference might be conceding a championship repeat by FCS national power Sam Houston State, but the talent across the conference suggests the title race is worth a second look.

Surprisingly, the Bearkats didn't have the most selections on the Southland preseason team, which was announced Thursday. That distinction belonged to Central Arkansas with 12 players, one more than Sam Houston's 11. McNeese and Stephen F. Austin tied for third with eight selections each.

Last season, Sam Houston swept through the Southland with an unbeaten regular season, finishing 12-1 overall. The Bearkats have reached at least the quarterfinals in five of their six straight FCS playoff appearances.

Coach K.C. Keeler's team is again led by quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe, last year's Southland player of the year as well as the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner; wide receiver Yedidiah Louis, the Southland offensive player of the year; and defensive end P.J. Hall, the conference's defensive player of the year. All three are seniors.

While the Bearkats collected the most first-team selections with nine, Central Arkansas - the conference runner-up with a 10-3 overall record - had the most preseason honorees by placing seven on the first team and five on the second team. Offensive lineman Stockton Mallett and defensive backs Tremon Smith and George Odum returned to the first team off last year's postseason all-conference squad.

The Southland preseason poll will be announced July 20 at media day in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON TEAM

First Team

Offense

QB - Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State, Sr.

RB - Corey Avery, Sam Houston State, Sr.

RB - Julius Maracalin, Southeastern Louisiana, Jr.

TE/HB - Lawayne Ross, McNeese, So.

WR - Yedidiah Louis, Sam Houston State, Sr.

WR - Nathan Stewart, Sam Houston State, So.

WR - Davion Davis, Sam Houston State, Jr.

OL - Stockton Mallett, Central Arkansas, Sr.

OL - Chandler Arceneaux, Nicholls, R-Jr.

OL - Tyler Tezeno, Sam Houston State, Sr.

OL - John Cook, Central Arkansas, Jr.

OL - Josh Keith, Stephen F. Austin, Sr.

AP - Kody Edwards, Incarnate Word, Sr.

PK - Nik Grau, Abilene Christian, Sr.

Defense

DL - P.J. Hall, Sam Houston State, Sr.

DL - Sully Laiche, Nicholls, So.

DL - John Franklin, Stephen F. Austin, Sr.

DL - Cardell Best, Central Arkansas, Sr.

LB - Garrett Dolan, Houston Baptist, Jr.

LB - Sam Denmark, Abilene Christian, Sr.

LB - Justin Johnson, Sam Houston State, Jr.

DB - Tremon Smith, Central Arkansas, Sr.

DB - George Odum, Central Arkansas, Sr.

DB - Andre Fuller, McNeese, Sr.

DB - Jaylon Lofton, Central Arkansas, Sr.

DB - Christian Boutte, Nichols, Sr.

P - Patrick Ponder, Central Arkansas, Sr.

KR - Jaylen Harris, Sam Houston State, So.

PR - Trae Hart, Stephen F. Austin, Sr.

Second Team

Offense

QB - Hayden Hildebrand, Central Arkansas, Sr.

RB - Remus Bulmer, Sam Houston State, Jr.

RB - Carlos Blackman, Central Arkansas, So.

TE/HB - Kiki Hill, Stephen F. Austin, So.

WR - Darious Crawley, McNeese, Sr.

WR - Tamrick Pace, Stephen F. Austin, So.

WR - Kent Shelby, McNeese, Sr.

OL - Andy Dodd, McNeese, Gr.

OL - Mitchell Watanabe, Sam Houston State, Jr.

OL - Gilberto Garcia, Central Arkansas, Sr.

OL - Ryan Hanley, Nicholls, Jr.

OL - Travis Romero, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr.

AP - Trae Hart, Stephen F. Austin, Sr.

PK - Alec Chadwick, Houston Baptist, Jr.

Defense

DL - Jammerio Gross-Whitaker, McNeese, Sr.

DL - Lamont Alexander, Stephen F. Austin, Jr.

DL - Chris Terrell, Central Arkansas, So.

DL - Chris Livings, McNeese, Jr.

LB - Allen Pittman, Nicholls, R-So.

LB - Sione Teuhema, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr.

LB - Cody Moncure, Houston Baptist, Sr.

DB - Dominique Hill, McNeese, Sr.

DB - Rodney Randle Jr., Lamar, Jr.

DB - Robert Hayes Jr., Incarnate Word, So.

DB - Max Lyons, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr.

DB - Derek Broussard, Houston Baptist, Sr.

P - Christian Guzman, Houston Baptist, Sr.

KR - Alize Ward, Stephen F. Austin, So.

PR - Tremon Smith, Central Arkansas, Sr.

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