(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.
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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
QB – Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State, Sr.
RB – Corey Avery, Sam Houston State, Sr.
RB – Julius Maracalin, Southeastern Louisiana, Jr.