Southland announces 2020 all-conference football teams
HBU’s Zappe tabbed fall Player of the Year; SHSU’s Schmid nabs spring Player of the Year honors
FRISCO, Texas – Houston Baptist quarterback Bailey Zappe and Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid are the Southland Football Fall and Spring Players of the Year, respectively, the league announced Tuesday. Yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.
Setting the college football world on fire in just four games last fall, including three against FBS competition, Zappe averaged an FCS-best 458.2 passing yards and 35.25 completions per game. In a 35-33 loss at Texas Tech, he broke Baker Mayfield’s record for passing yards against the Red Raiders, completing 30-of-49 passes for 567 yards, which ranks fourth in Southland history.
Zappe ranks among the top-10 FCS quarterbacks in passing touchdowns (6th, 15), passing yards (8th, 1,833), completion percentage (8th, 65.6) and passing efficiency (10th, 159.3). He finishes his career ranked sixth in Southland history in passing yards (10,004), passing touchdowns (78) and completions (759), and seventh in total offense (10.247).
Leading the Bearkats to their first Southland championship since 2017, Schmid paced the FCS in yards per completion (16.30) and ranked fifth in passing efficiency (163.0), passing yards (2,021) and total offense per game (383.2). He tied for fifth in the league with five rushing touchdowns and averaged 46.3 yards per game on the ground.
Schmid topped 300 yards in five of the team’s six games, including a season-high 428 in the spring opener against Southeastern Louisiana. Schmid posted back-to-back games with six total touchdowns after throwing for six in a 71-17 win over Nicholls and rushing for four with two through the air in a 62-7 win over Lamar.
The reigning Southland Freshman of the Year, Central Arkansas wide receiver Tyler Hudson adds to his trophy case with Fall Offensive Player of the Year honors. The Walter Payton Award finalist ranks second in the nation with 845 receiving yards and hauled in a team-high seven touchdown receptions last fall for the Bears. Hudson is also a first-team all-league punt returner after averaging 7.9 yards per return with a touchdown.
Another Walter Payton Award finalist, Cole Kelley garners Spring Offensive Player of the Year recognition following an electric year under center for Southeastern Louisiana in which he threw for more than 300 yards in all seven games. The FCS’ leading passer (2,662) and scorer (164) ranks fourth in completion percentage (68.9) and total offense per game (386.9), and he tied for second leaguewide with seven rushing touchdowns.
Houston Baptist linebacker Caleb Johnson and Stephen F. Austin linebacker Brevin Randle share Fall Defensive Player of the Year laurels. Johnson leads the conference and ranks fourth in the FCS with 12.2 tackles per game. He recorded at least 11 tackles in all four games. Randle led the team in total tackles (68) and solo tackles (38) and racked up 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a fumble forced.
One of the Southland’s three finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, McNeese defensive end Isaiah Chambers is also honored as the Spring Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league in both sacks (8.0) and tackles for loss (14.0) while earning a pair of Defensive Player of the Week honors. Chambers tallied a team-high 11 quarterback hurries and finished the season with 32 tackles.
A Baylor transfer, Stephen F. Austin defensive end BJ Thompson made an immediate impact in the trenches on his way to Fall Newcomer of the Year recognition. He played in all ten games for the ‘Jacks, compiling 8.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks on the season, leading SFA in both categories. Thompson recorded a total of 28 quarterback hurries or hits and generated two turnovers, an interception and a fumble recovery.
An integral part of the Sam Houston offense in his first year with the program, Howard transfer Jequez Ezzard was voted the Spring Newcomer of the Year after averaging 163.2 all-purpose yards in five full games (only played one snap against Northwestern State). He hauled in 20 passes for 608 yards, placing second among FCS wideouts with 30.40 yards per catch. The first-team all-conference punt returner averaged 17.5 yards per return with a touchdown.
The third member of Stephen F. Austin’s front-seven to garner a superlative award, Caleb Fox is the Fall Freshman of the Year after accruing 7.0 TFL and 2.5 sacks while playing at two different positions for the Lumberjacks. He tallied 3.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks against Angelo State and finished the Eastern Kentucky contest with a pair of TFL and a sack.
The Spring Freshman of the Year title goes to UIW quarterback Cameron Ward, who set program records for touchdown passes in a season (24) and a game (six) in his rookie campaign. Named Stats Perform FCS National Freshman of the Week twice, he ranks second among FCS student-athletes in points responsible for per game (26.3).
Stephen F. Austin freshman Justice Guillory is the Fall Offensive Lineman of the Year after allowing just one sack in eight games en route to team Offensive Newcomer of the Year honors.
Nicholls senior PJ Burkhalter successfully defended his Offensive Lineman of the Year title, anchoring a Colonels line that paved the way for the FCS’ No. 3 rushing offense (263.4 YPG).
Central Arkansas’ Nathan Brown is tabbed the Fall Coach of the Year following a 5-4 campaign for the Bears that included three wins over teams that finished in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 – one versus Austin Peay (No. 21) and two against Missouri State (No. 12). Though he’s an offensive-minded coach, his UCA squad recorded FCS highs in turnovers gained (23), fumbles recovered (14) and defensive touchdowns (four).
Sam Houston head man K.C. Keeler brought his Bearkats back to greatness, claiming the team’s first Southland Conference Championship since 2017 and posting the first undefeated conference slate since 2016 to grab Spring Coach of the Year honors. SHSU earned the No. 2 seed in the FCS Playoffs after establishing itself as an elite squad on both sides of the ball in a flawless regular season.
Central Arkansas leads the fall season participants with 12 all-conference selections, followed by Stephen F. Austin with nine. Houston Baptist placed five on the all-league teams, while Abilene Christian has two honorees.
Sam Houston paces the spring faction with 22 total all-conference nods, followed by Southeastern Louisiana with 17 and UIW with 16. Nicholls and Northwestern State each garnered 10 spots on the teams. McNeese accounted for five recognitions, and Lamar rounds out the group with two selections.
In total, 24 honorees are returning all-Southland selections, led by Nicholls wideout Dai’Jean Dixon and Sam Houston defensive back Zyon McCollum with their third picks.
The fall All-Southland Conference team was voted on only by head coaches and sports information directors of the four institutions that played in the fall (ACU, UCA, HBU and SFA), while the other seven members voted on the spring teams. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted.
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football Individual Superlative Winners
Player of the Year: Eric Schmid, Sam Houston
Offensive Player of the Year: Cole Kelley, Southeastern Louisiana
Defensive Player of the Year: Isaiah Chambers, McNeese
Newcomer of the Year: Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston
Freshman of the Year: Cameron Ward, UIW
Offensive Lineman of the Year: PJ Burkhalter, Nicholls
Coach of the Year: K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football First Team All-Conference Offense
|QB||Eric Schmid||Sam Houston||Jr.||The Woodlands, Texas|
|RB||Kevin Brown||UIW||Sr.||Mount Pleasant, S.C.|
|RB||Scooter Adams||Northwestern State||Jr.||Halletsville, Texas|
|TE/HB||David Mosley||Nicholls||Sr.||New Orleans, La.|
|WR||Jequez Ezzard||Sam Houston||Gr.||College Park, Ga.|
|WR||Dai’Jean Dixon3||Nicholls||Sr.||New Orleans, La.|
|WR||CJ Turner||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Jr.||LaPlace, La.|
|OL||PJ Burkhalter2||Nicholls||Sr.||Franklinton, La.|
|OL||Colby Thomas2||Sam Houston||Sr.||Manvel, Texas|
|OL||Jair Joseph2||Nicholls||Sr.||Belle Rose, La.|
|OL||Jalen Bell||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||Amory, Miss.|
|OL||Evan Roussel||Nicholls||Fr.||Gramercy, La.|
|PK||Seth Morgan||Sam Houston||Fr.||Houston, Texas|
|P||Matt McRobert2||Sam Houston||R-Sr.||Berowra, Australia|
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football First Team All-Conference Defense
|DL||Isaiah Chambers||McNeese||Gr.||Houston, Texas|
|DL||Jahari Kay||Sam Houston||Sr.||Berkeley, Calif.|
|DL||Joseph Wallace2||Sam Houston||Sr.||Dallas, Texas|
|DL||Jevon Leon2||Sam Houston||So.||Houston, Texas|
|LB||Quentin Brown||Sam Houston||R-Jr.||Conroe, Texas|
|LB||Kelechi Anyalebechi2||UIW||Jr.||Pearland, Texas|
|LB||Jomard Valsin||Northwestern State||Jr.||Port Arthur, Texas|
|DB||Zyon McCollum3||Sam Houston||Sr.||Galveston, Texas|
|DB||Ferlando Jordan2||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Jr.||Atlanta, Ga.|
|DB||Kevin Moore III2||Nicholls||Sr.||Lafayette, La.|
|DB||Jaylen Thomas2||Sam Houston||Sr.||Houston, Texas|
|DB||Andre Sam||McNeese||Jr.||Iowa, La.|
|KR||Ce’Cori Tolds||UIW||Jr.||Houston, Texas|
|PR||Jequez Ezzard||Sam Houston||Gr.||College Park, Ga.|
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football Second Team All-Conference Offense
|QB||Cole Kelley||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||Lafayette, La.|
|RB||Ramon Jefferson||Sam Houston||R-Jr.||Bronx, N.Y.|
|RB||Julien Gums2||Nicholls||Jr.||New Orleans, La.|
|TE/HB||Isaac Schley||Sam Houston||R-Sr.||Littleton, Colo.|
|WR||Robert Ferrel||UIW||Jr.||Sparks, Nev.|
|WR||Ife Adeyi||Sam Houston||So.||Mansfield, Texas|
|WR||Javon Antonio||Northwestern State||Jr.||LaPlace, La.|
|OL||Ethan McMullan||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||Decatur, Miss.|
|OL||Caleb Johnson||UIW||Jr.||Mount Pleasant, Texas|
|OL||Khalil Corbett-Canada||Northwestern State||Jr.||Harker Heights, Texas|
|OL||Prince Pines||Sam Houston||So.||Baton Rouge, La.|
|OL||Ethan Hagler||Sam Houston||So.||Cove, Texas|
|PK||Mateo Rengifo||Southeastern Louisiana||Jr.||Lawrenceville, Ga.|
|P||Austin Dunlap||Southeastern Louisiana||So.||Slidell, La.|
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football Second Team All-Conference Defense
|DL||Trace Mascorro2||Sam Houston||Sr.||Refugio, Texas|
|DL||Mason Kinsey||McNeese||R-So.||Mansfield, Texas|
|DL||Cameron Preston||UIW||Jr.||Crowley, Texas|
|DL||Darrius Harry||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Fr.||New Orleans, La.|
|LB||Trevor Williams||Sam Houston||Jr.||College Station, Texas|
|LB||Alexis Ramos2||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||Salinas, Calif.|
|LB||Markel Perry||Sam Houston||R-Jr.||Beaumont, Texas|
|DB||Tristin McCollum||Sam Houston||Sr.||Galveston, Texas|
|DB||Donnell Ward-Magee||Southeastern Louisiana||Jr.||New Orleans, La.|
|DB||Chris Joyce||McNeese||So.||Hampton, Ga.|
|DB||Pig Cage||Nicholls||Fr.||Kenner, La.|
|DB||Shawn Holton||UIW||So.||Fort Worth, Texas|
|KR||Donovan Duvernay||Northwestern State||Sr.||Garland, Texas|
|PR||Robert Ferrel||UIW||Jr.||Sparks, Nev.|
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football Third Team All-Conference Offense
|QB||Cameron Ward||UIW||Fr.||West Columbia, Texas|
|RB||Marcus Cooper||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Jr.||Altair, Texas|
|RB||Noah Smith||Sam Houston||So.||Houston, Texas|
|TE/HB||Damien Dawson||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Sr.||Franklinton, La.|
|WR||Austin Mitchell2||Southeastern Louisiana||R-Sr.||Plaquemine, La.|
|WR||KJ Franklin||Nicholls||So.||Prairieville, La.|
|WR||Josh Matthews||McNeese||Jr.||Baton Rouge, La.|
|OL||Rendon Miles-Character||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||New Orleans, La.|
|OL||Drew Jones||Southeastern Louisiana||Sr.||Des Allemands, La.|
|OL||Nash Jones||UIW||Fr.||Nacogdoches, Texas|
|OL||Jakob Sell||Northwestern State||Jr.||Dallas, Texas|
|OL||Reid Francis||UIW||R-Fr.||College Station, Texas|
|PK||Carson Mohr||UIW||So.||The Woodlands, Texas|
|P||Scotty Roblow||Northwestern State||R-Fr.||Shreveport, La.|
2020 Southland Conference Spring Football Third Team All-Conference Defense
|DL||Blaine Hoover||UIW||R-Jr.||Bedias, Texas|
|DL||Chance Main||UIW||Jr.||Cherryvale, Kan.|
|DL||Tylo Phillips||Lamar||Jr.||Collinsville, Miss.|
|LB||Isaiah Paul||UIW||R-Fr.||San Antonio, Texas|
|LB||Herman Christophe||Southeastern Louisiana||So.||Plaquemine, La.|
|LB||Blake Stephenson||Northwestern State||Sr.||Deer Park, Texas|
|DB||Anthony Ruffin||Lamar||So.||Houma, La.|
|DB||Jack Henderson||Southeastern Louisiana||Fr.||Mandeville, La.|
|DB||P.J. Herrington||Northwestern State||Jr.||Natchez, Miss.|
|DB||Elliott Davison||UIW||Fr.||Flint, Texas|
|DB||William Hooper||Northwestern State||Jr.||Montgomery, Ala.|
|KR||Dontaze Costly||Nicholls||Jr.||Vacherie, La.|
2020 Southland Conference Fall Football Individual Superlative Winners
Player of the Year: Bailey Zappe, Houston Baptist
Offensive Player of the Year: Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas
Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Caleb Johnson, Houston Baptist
Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Brevin Randle, Stephen F. Austin
Newcomer of the Year: BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin
Freshman of the Year: Caleb Fox, Stephen F. Austin
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Justice Guillory, Stephen F. Austin
Coach of the Year: Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas
2020 Southland Conference Fall Football First Team All-Conference Offense
|QB||Bailey Zappe||Houston Baptist||Sr.||Victoria, Texas|
|RB||Jaquarion Turner||Stephen F. Austin||R-Fr.||Garland, Texas|
|RB||Jermiah Dobbins||Abilene Christian||Fr.||Lubbock, Texas|
|TE/HB||Chad Aune||Stephen F. Austin||R-Fr.||Denton, Texas|
|WR||Tyler Hudson2||Central Arkansas||So.||Spring, Texas|
|WR||Xavier Gipson2||Stephen F. Austin||So.||Dallas, Texas|
|WR||Lujuan Winningham2||Central Arkansas||Jr.||Humble, Texas|
|OL||Justice Guillory||Stephen F. Austin||Fr.||Katy, Texas|
|OL||Christian Hood||Houston Baptist||So.||Marshall, Texas|
|OL||Jaylen Hendrix2||Central Arkansas||Jr.||Everman, Texas|
|OL||Toby Sanderson2||Central Arkansas||Sr.||Edmond, Okla.|
|OL||Zach Ingram||Stephen F. Austin||Sr.||Independence, Mo.|
|PK||Hayden Ray2||Central Arkansas||Jr.||Bryant, Ark.|
|P||Blake Patterson2||Houston Baptist||Sr.||Round Rock, Texas|
2020 Southland Conference Fall Football First Team All-Conference Defense
|DL||BJ Thompson||Stephen F. Austin||Jr.||England, Ark.|
|DL||Logan Jessup||Central Arkansas||So.||Wynne, Ark.|
|DL||JW Jones||Central Arkansas||Sr.||Rayville, La.|
|DL||Quent Titre||Abilene Christian||Jr.||Missouri City, Texas|
|LB||Brevin Randle||Stephen F. Austin||So.||Marshall, Texas|
|LB||Dre Matthews||Central Arkansas||Jr.||Defuniak Springs, Fla.|
|LB||Caleb Johnson||Houston Baptist||Sr.||San Diego, Calif.|
|DB||Robert Rochell2||Central Arkansas||Sr.||Shreveport, La.|
|DB||Cameron Godfrey||Central Arkansas||So.||Spring, Texas|
|DB||Myles Heard||Stephen F. Austin||So.||Sugar Land, Texas|
|DB||Patrick Wolfe||Houston Baptist||Sr.||St. Amant, La.|
|DB||TKai Lloyd||Stephen F. Austin||So.||Allen, Texas|
|KR||Cameron Myers2||Central Arkansas||So.||Plant City, Fla.|
|PR||Tyler Hudson||Central Arkansas||So.||Spring, Texas|
2 – Two-time all-conference selection
3 – Three-time all-conference selection
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