JONESBORO, Ark. (7/18/19) – Including five first-team and six second-team selections, the Arkansas State football team has placed a league-high 11 different players on the 2019 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team.
Representing Arkansas State on the first team were senior wide receiver Kirk Merritt, junior tight end Javonis Isaac, junior defensive end William Bradley-King, junior defensive lineman Forrest Merrill and junior cornerback Jerry Jacobs.
Earning a spot on the second team for the Red Wolves were senior wideout Omar Bayless, junior center Jacob Still, senior defensive lineman Kevin Thurmon, senior safeties Darreon Jackson and B.J. Edmonds and senior punter Cody Grace.
A-State’s 11 selections tied Appalachian State, which had 10 players comprise its 11 picks, for the most in the conference. The Red Wolves were picked to finish second in the Sun Belt’s West Division according to the league’s preseason coaches’ poll, which was also announced Thursday.
Louisiana followed A-State and Appalachian State with eight preseason all-conference selections, while Troy had seven, Georgia Southern four, South Alabama and Texas State three each, Georgia State and ULM two each and Coastal Carolina one. Troy senior running back B.J. Smith and Georgia Southern senior defensive back Kindle Vildor were named the Sun Belt’s Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
The Red Wolves’ 11 players on the preseason all-conference team are their most since 2016, when they also had 11. They have now earned at least 11 selections four of the last six seasons as well.
While multiple major award watch lists haven’t been announced yet, Merritt has already been named a preseason candidate for both the Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award. A-State sophomore running back Marcel Murray has also been tabbed to the Doak Walker Award Watch List.
Preseason college football publications Phil Steele’s, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, Street & Smith’s and College Football News have combined to include 16 different Arkansas State players on a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team as well. Those selections also include Murray, junior linebacker Tajhea Chambers, senior wide receiver Dahu Green, senior offensive lineman Nour-Eddine Seidnaly and senior deep snapper Seth Cottengim.
Arkansas State is set to open its 2019 season Aug. 31 with a 6:00 p.m. kickoff at Centennial Bank Stadium against SMU. Season tickets are available for purchase through the A-State Ticket Office, located at First National Bank Arena’s lower red entrance, in person, by phone at 870-972-2781 or online by visiting AStateRedWolves.com.
2019 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Teams
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)
First Team Offense
QB - Zac Thomas (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)
RB - B.J. Smith (Troy, Senior)
WR - Corey Sutton (Appalachian State, Junior)
WR - Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State, Senior)
WR - Ja'Marcus Bradley (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
TE - Javonis Isaac (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Noah Hannon (Appalachian State, Junior)
OL - Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Robert Hunt (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
OL - Kirk Kelley (Troy, Senior)
First Team Defense
DL - William Bradley-King (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
DL - Forrest Merrill (Arkansas State, Junior)
DL - Raymond Johnson (Georgia Southern, Junior)
DL - Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Senior)
LB - Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Jordan Fehr (Appalachian State, Senior)
LB - Bryan London II (Texas State, Senior)
DB - Desmond Franklin (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - Jerry Jacobs (Arkansas State, Junior)
DB - Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Senior)
DB - Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern, Senior)
First Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior)
P - Brandon Wright (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
RS - Tra Minter (South Alabama, Senior)
Second Team Offense
QB - Caleb Evans (ULM, Senior)
RB - Elijah Mitchell (Louisiana, Junior)
RB - Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Junior)
WR - Omar Bayless (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
WR - Kawaan Baker (South Alabama, Junior)
WR - Tray Eafford (Troy, Junior)
TE - Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Senior)
OL - Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Junior)
OL - Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Senior)
OL - T.J. Fiailoa (ULM, RS-Junior)
OL - Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Senior)
OL - Tristan Crowder (Troy, Senior)
Second Team Defense
DL - Kevin Thurmon (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DL - Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina, RS-Junior)
DL - Zi'Yon Hill (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore)
DL - Jarvis Hayes (Troy, Senior)
LB - Jacques Boudreaux (Louisiana, Senior)
LB - Nikolas Daniels (Texas State, Senior)
LB - Carlton Martial (Troy, Sophomore)
DB - Josh Thomas (Appalachian State, Senior)
DB - B.J. Edmonds (Arkansas State, Senior)
DB - Darreon Jackson (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
DB - Michael Jacquet III (Louisiana, RS-Senior)
Second Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Sumpter (Troy, Junior)
P - Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Senior)
RS - Darrynton Evans (Appalachian State, Junior)