Southland announces 2020 all-conference football teams

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Southland Conference

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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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

Pos. Name School Class Hometown
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


2Two-time all-conference selection

3Three-time all-conference selection

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