Five from LA Tech on 2021 Conference USA Preseason Watch List

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Smoke Harris

RUSTON, La. – Conference USA released the 2021 preseason watch list, as selected by the league’s 14 head coaches, on Monday. Five student-athletes from each of the conference’s 14 member institutions were recognized as key players to watch ahead of the 2021 season.

Louisiana Tech graduate transfer running back Marcus Williams Jr., senior linebacker Trey Baldwin, junior offensive lineman Joshua Mote, sophomore defensive back BeeJay Williamson and sophomore punt returner Smoke Harris were named to the 2021 preseason watch list.

Williams transferred to Louisiana Tech from App State where he appeared in 42 games and made six starts. The Rocky Mount, N.C., native rushed for more than 500 yards in each of his four seasons played (2017-20). He finished his App State career with 2,216 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and had six career-games with 100-plus rushing yards. Williams appeared in eight games with two starts as senior in 2020, registering 503 rushing yards on 68 attempts for three touchdowns.

Baldwin was named second team all-C-USA and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA third team in 2020. The Orange, Texas, native finished the season second on the team with 85 total tackles, including a team-best 53 solo tackles. Baldwin posted a career-high 18 tackles, including 14 solo, at UTSA on Oct. 24. His 18 tackles tied for the 11th most nationally in the season, while his 14 solo tackles ranked second in the nation. He ranked first in C-USA and 11th in the FBS in solo tackles with 5.9 per game and was third in the conference in tackles per game at 9.4. Baldwin registered 7.0 tackles for loss, including 1.0 sacks, five pass breakups, one interception and one quarterback hurry during the 2020 campaign.

Mote was an all-Conference USA honorable mention in 2020 and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA Fourth Team. He was part of an offensive front that ranked first in C-USA and second in the FBS in fourth down conversions at 88.9 percent (16-of-18). The native of Oak Grove, La., helped the offense rank fourth in C-USA and 53rd in the FBS in red zone offense at 84.6 percent (33-of-39). Mote assisted the offense in averaging 315.8 yards of total offense, including a 216.6 passing yard average and a 99.2 rushing yard average.

Williamson was named first team all-Conference USA by both the league and Phil Steele in 2020. The native of Dallas, Texas, was third on the team with 56 total tackles, including 32 solo, while also registering 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, three interceptions, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble. Williamson recorded two interceptions against UAB and forced a fumble at the goal line to give LA Tech the game-winning possession. He registered multiple tackles in every game of the 2020 campaign.

Harris was named second team all-C-USA and Phil Steele All-Conference USA First Team as a punt returner in 2020. During the campaign, he averaged 21.50 yards per punt return after returning six punts for 129 total yards. The native of St. Francisville, La., had a career-long 60-yard punt return at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 23). Harris totaled 463 all-purpose yards which was the third most on the team.

The Conference USA slate opens on Saturday, Aug. 28, and the league’s 17th Conference USA Football Championship Game is scheduled for the first week in December.

Louisiana Tech opens the 2021 season at Mississippi State on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 3 p.m. Tech will then open a three-game home stretch against Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. inside Joe Aillet Stadium.

Season tickets for the 2021 Louisiana Tech football season are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets online at LATechSports.com/tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631.

For all the latest in Bulldog Football, follow them on Twitter (@LATechFB), Instagram (@LATechFB) and Facebook (LATechFootball) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.

OFFENSE
QB Grant Wells, RS Fr., Marshall
QB Bailey Zappe, GS, WKU
RB Frank Gore, Jr., Fr., Southern Miss
RB Sincere McCormick, Jr., UTSA
RB DeWayne McBride, So., UAB
RB D’Vonte Price, Sr., FIU
RB Marcus Williams, Jr., GS, Louisiana Tech
WR Jason Brownlee, Jr., Southern Miss
WR Jacob Cowing, So., UTEP
WR Jarrin Pearce, RS Sr., Middle Tennessee
WR Brandon Robinson, RS Sr., Florida Atlantic
WR Bradley Rozner, RS Jr., Rice
WR Jyaire Shorter, RS So., North Texas
WR Victor Tucker, RS Sr., Charlotte
OL Shea Baker, RS Jr., Rice
OL Jacob Brammer, RS Jr., North Texas
OL Spencer Burford, Sr., UTSA
OL Bobby DeHaro, RS Jr., UTEP
OL D’Mitri Emmanuel, RS Sr., Charlotte
OL Arvin Fletcher, RS Sr., Southern Miss
OL Lyndell Hudson, Jr., RS So., FIU
OL Alex Mollette, RS Sr., Marshall
OL Joshua Mote, Jr., Louisiana Tech
OL Jordan Palmer, Jr., Middle Tennessee
OL Nick Saldiveri, RS So., Old Dominion
OL Cole Spencer, RS Jr., WKU
OL Kadeem Telfort, RS Jr., UAB
OL Khalique Washington, Sr., Southern Miss
OL Isaac Weaver, Sr., Old Dominion
OL Nick Weber, RS Jr., Florida Atlantic

DEFENSE
DL Praise Amaewhule, RS So., UTEP
DL Evan Anderson, Fr., Florida Atlantic
DL Jamare Edwards, RS Jr., Marshall
DL Jordan Ferguson, RS Jr., Middle Tennessee
DL Elijah Garcia, RS Sr., Rice
DL Jaylon Haynes, Sr., UTSA
DL DeAngelo Malone, Sr. WKU
DL Antonio Moultrie, RS Jr., UAB
DL Dion Novil, Sr., North Texas
DL Davon Strickland, RS So., FIU
DL Markees Watts, Sr., Charlotte
LB Trey Baldwin, Sr., Louisiana Tech
LB KD Davis, Jr., North Texas
LB Tyler Murray, RS Sr., Charlotte
LB Jordan Young, Sr., Old Dominion
DB Reed Blankenship, Sr., Middle Tennessee
DB Richard Dames, Sr., FIU
DB Zyon Gilbert, Sr., Florida Atlantic
DB Steven Gilmore, Jr., Marshall
DB Joe Joe Headen, Sr., Old Dominion
DB Dy’Vonne Inyang, Sr., UTEP
DB Antwon Kincade, Sr., WKU
DB Kristopher Moll, Sr., UAB
DB Naeem Smith, Sr., Rice
DB BeeJay Williamson, So., Louisiana Tech
DB Rashad Wisdom, Jr., UTSA

SPECIAL TEAMS
K Briggs Bourgeois, RS Jr., Southern Miss
K Jonathan Cruz, Sr., Charlotte
K Brayden Narveson, RS So., WKU
K Nick Rice, Sr., Old Dominion
P Lucas Dean, Jr., UTSA
P Kyle Greenwell, Jr., UAB
P Matt Hayball, RS Jr., Florida Atlantic
P Tommy Heatherly, Sr., FIU
P Kyle Ulbrich, RS Jr., Middle Tennessee
PR Justin Garrett, RS Sr., UTEP
PR Smoke Harris, So., Louisiana Tech
PR Talik Keaton, RS So., Marshall
LS Nate Durham, RS Jr., North Texas
LS Campbell Riddle, Jr., Rice

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