Southland announces 2017 All-Conference Football Teams

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Hayden Hildebrand named Player of the Year; Sam Houston State leads with 13 total selections

FRISCO, Texas – Central Arkansas senior quarterback Hayden Hildebrand is the 2017 Southland Conference Football Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday along with the all-conference selections. Southland yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.

Hildebrand is one of five individual superlative honorees from this season’s UCA team. Head coach Steve Campbell was named Coach of the Year, senior defensive back George Odum was named Defensive Player of the Year, running back Kierre Crossley earned Freshman of the Year honors and junior John Cook was voted Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Hildebrand led the nation in passing efficiency (181.3) and tossed 27 touchdowns to marshal the UCA offense in the regular season. He also ranked second in the FCS with 15.38 passing yards per completion.

In his fourth year with the program, head coach Campbell led the Bears to their first outright Southland championship with an undefeated 9-0 conference season – also a program-first.

Odum was a driving force behind the Central Arkansas defense this year, ranking sixth in the country with 6.5 solo tackles per game. He registered 106 total tackles for the Bears, including 8.0 for losses and four sacks.

Redshirt freshman Crossley led the ground attack for UCA, ranking first on the team with 770 rushing yards (70.00 per game) and was tied for second on the team with four touchdowns.

Cook was one of three Central Arkansas offensive linemen named to the first team, a corps that surrendered a Southland-best six sacks and helped clear the gaps for the league’s second-best rushing offense (207.8 yards per game) in all games.

Offensive Player of the Year was awarded to Davion Davis of Sam Houston State, who was also named a first team wide receiver, offensive all-purpose player and punt returner. The junior out of Hutto, Texas, was top five nationally in four different categories: First in punt return touchdowns (two), second in receiving touchdowns (14), second in total touchdowns (17) and fifth in scoring (9.3 points per game). His 102 total points scored is third in the FCS, one point behind fellow Bearkat, placekicker Tre Honshtein.

Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, a sophomore transfer from South Carolina, was tabbed Newcomer of the Year. In his debut year for the Lions, he threw for 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Bearkats led the way with 13 total all-conference selections while the Bears earned 12. Nicholls garnered 10 total spots, followed by McNeese (six) and Southeastern Louisiana (five). Houston Baptist, UIW and Stephen F. Austin all earned three picks while Abilene Christian, Lamar and Northwestern State all named a lone member to the all-conference teams.

In total, 19 of the honorees are returning all-Southland selections, led by four-time pick P.J. Hall of Sam Houston State. The senior defensive lineman racked up 40 tackles (15 for losses) and six sacks in nine games this season.

All-Southland Conference teams are voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted. To receive honorable mention, a player must appear on 25 percent of ballots.

2017 Southland Conference Football Individual Superlative Winners

Coach of the Year: Steve Campbell, Central Arkansas

Player of the Year: Hayden Hildebrand, Central Arkansas

Offensive Player of the Year: Davion Davis, Sam Houston State

Defensive Player of the Year: George Odum, Central Arkansas

Freshman of the Year: Kierre Crossley, Central Arkansas

Newcomer of the Year: Lorenzo Nunez, Southeastern Louisiana

Offensive Lineman of the Year: John Cook, Central Arkansas

2017 Southland Conference Football First Team All-Conference Offense

QBHayden Hildebrand2Central ArkansasSr.Bossier City, La.
RBCorey Avery3Sam Houston StateSr.Dallas, Texas
RBDavid HammMcNeeseJr.Klein, Texas
TE/HBLawayne RossMcNeeseSo.Richwood, Texas
WRDavion Davis2Sam Houston StateJr.Hutto, Texas
WRNathan Stewart2Sam Houston StateSo.Dallas, Texas
WRBrandon CoxCentral ArkansasSr.Conway, Ark.
OLJohn Cook2Central ArkansasJr.Grenada, Miss.
OLGilberto GarciaCentral ArkansasSr.Morrilton, Ark.
OLMitchell WatanabeSam Houston StateJr.San Antonio, Texas
OLCade CampCentral ArkansasSr.Allen, Texas
OLMaea TeuhemaSoutheastern LouisianaJr.Keller, Texas
APDavion DavisSam Houston StateJr.Hutto, Texas
PKGunnar RabornMcNeeseJr.Lafayette, La.
PJoe ZemaUIWGr.Melbourne, Australia

2017 Southland Conference Football First Team All-Conference Defense

DLP.J. Hall4Sam Houston StateSr.Seguin, Texas
DLChris ChambersCentral ArkansasSr.Pearl, Miss.
DLChris TerrellCentral ArkansasSo.Pensacola, Fla.
DLEric JacksonCentral ArkansasSr.Apopka, Fla.
LBGarrett Dolan2Houston BaptistSr.Mont Belvieu, Texas
LBSione Teuhema2Southeastern LouisianaSr.Keller, Texas
LBJustin Johnson2Sam Houston StateSr.Converse, Texas
DBTremon Smith3Central ArkansasSr.Anniston, Ala.
DBGeorge Odum2Central ArkansasSr.Millington, Tenn.
DBMax LyonsSoutheastern LouisianaSr.Los Angeles, Calif.
DBDominique Hill2McNeeseSr.Mansfield, La.
DBRaphael LewisHouston BaptistJr.Elk Grove, Calif.
KRDesmond HiteUIWSo.Cypress, Texas
PRDavion DavisSam Houston StateJr.Hutto, Texas


2017 Southland Conference Football Second Team All-Conference Offense

QBJeremiah Briscoe2Sam Houston StateSr.Houston, Texas
RBCarlos BlackmanCentral ArkansasSo.Gosnell, Ark.
RBKyran IrvinNichollsSo.Darrow, La.
TE/HBRagan HendersonSam Houston StateSr.Rice, Texas
WRYedidiah Louis3Sam Houston StateSr.New Orleans, La.
WRDamion JeanpiereNichollsJr.Kenner, La.
WRTamrick PaceStephen F. AustinSo.Brownsboro, Texas
OLRyan HanleyNichollsJr.Metaire, La.
OLChris ZirkleNorthwestern StateJr.League City, Texas
OLChandler Arceneaux2NichollsJr.Bourg, La.
OLAndy DoddMcNeeseGr.Lindale, Ga.
OLEric DavidSam Houston StateSo.Richmond, Texas
APDesmond HiteUIWSo.Cypress, Texas
PKLorran FonsecaNichollsJr.Hercules, Calif.
PChristian GuzmanHouston BaptistSr.Brookshire, Texas

2017 Southland Conference Football Second Team All-Conference Defense

DLSully Laiche2NichollsSo.Gramercy, La.
DLJohn Franklin3Stephen F. AustinSr.Greenville, Texas
DLKenny DotsonNichollsJr.Plaquemine, La.
DLChris StewartSam Houston StateJr.Petal, Miss.
LBSam Denmark3Abilene ChristianSr.Las Cruces, N.M.
LBAshari Goins2McNeeseSr.Monroe, La.
LBAllen Pittman2NichollsSo.St. Rose, La.
DBNate JonesLamarJr.Mansfield, Texas
DBAlize WardStephen F. AustinSo.San Diego, Calif.
DBCorey AbrahamNichollsJr.Breaux Bridge, La.
DBJuan JacksonCentral ArkansasSo.Gardendale, Ala.
DBAhmani MartinNichollsJr.Reserve, La.
KRJuwan Petit-FrereSoutheastern LouisianaSo.Orlando, Fla.
PRMax LyonsSoutheastern LouisianaSr.Los Angeles, Calif.

Honorable Mention: RB: Kierre Crossley, Central Arkansas; Derrick Mitchell, UIW; Justin Pratt, McNeese; Chris Jones, Northwestern State; Marcus Cooper, Southeastern Louisiana. TE/HB: Trevor Crain, Abilene Christian; Case Robinson, Lamar. WR: Troy Grant, Abilene Christian; Roman Gordon, Central Arkansas; Kent Shelby, McNeese. OL: Micah Parten, Central Arkansas; Terence Hickman II, UIW; Matt Oubre, Lamar; Eddie Houston, Nicholls; Jermaine Jones, Southeastern Louisiana; Tyler Tezeno, Sam Houston State; Devonte Jones, Stephen F. Austin. AP: Cedric Battle, Central Arkansas. PK: Matt Cummins, Central Arkansas; Dillon Burkhard, Southeastern Louisiana. P: Patrick Ponder, Central Arkansas. DL: Tyler Helaire, Houston Baptist; Manasseh Miles, Lamar; Jammerio Gross-Whitaker, McNeese; Obinna Iheoma, Northwestern State; Lyn Clark, Northwestern State; Lamont Alexander, Stephen F. Austin. LB: James Graves, Central Arkansas; Cody Moncure, Houston Baptist; Mar’kel Cooks, UIW; B.J. Blunt, McNeese; Tevin Lawson, Nicholls; Jake Jiannoni, Southeastern Louisiana. DB: Brandon Richmond, Abilene Christian; Jaylon Lofton, Central Arkansas; Andre Fuller, McNeese; Isaac Warren, Northwestern State; Adrian Contreras, Sam Houston State; Jaylen Thomas, Sam Houston State; Mayori Ellison, Southeastern Louisiana.

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