'Jacks Place Eight On Preseason All-SLC Teams
Aug. 5, 2002
Twenty-six players who were named first- or second-team All-Southland Conference in football after the 2001 season have been named to the 2002 preseason teams.
A year ago in preseason, the focal point of Southland Conference football was at the quarterback position. It proved to be with good reason as three signal callers were among the five Southland players taken in April?s National Football League draft.
It was instant offense last year as two Division I-A transfers, Josh McCown at Sam Houston State and Craig Nall at Northwestern State, were among the top three passers in the league.
Now, four of the seven teams are looking for new QBs, and there appears to be a shift in talent. There also appears to be a shift to experienced players as a plethora of returning players have been named to the 2002 Southland Conference preseason football teams.
Among the 26 All-Conference returning selections, 21 of those are on the first team. Fourteen of those, including nine on the defensive unit, were named first-team after the 2001 season.
Returning All-Conference players from last season are automatically named to the 2002 teams with the remaining spots filled based on a vote of the Southland?s seven head coaches.
Jacksonville State, McNeese State and Northwestern State each placed five players on the first team.
Taking the torch at the quarterback position appears to be senior Reggie Stancil of Jacksonville State as he was voted first-team All-Southland by the coaches after earning honorable-mention notice in 2001. A Moultrie, Ga., product, Stancil (6-0, 240) finished fourth in the Southland last year with 1,848 yards for a 168-yard-per-game average. He was also fourth in total offense as he ran for 263 yards and two scores.
Another Gamecock, senior running back Rondy Rogers, occupies a backfield spot on the first team. A Birmingham, Ala., product, Rogers (5-11, 220) was the Conference rushing champion a year ago, running for 128.8 yards per game. While amassing his 1,417 yards, he scored 13 touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 186 yards and two more scores.
Helping Stancil and Rogers will be offensive lineman Deon White as he returns for his senior season. The 6-3, 330-pound Birmingham native was voted to the first team after helping JSU lead the Southland in rushing a year ago.
On the first-team defensive unit for JSU is safety Markee Coleman while specialist Richie Rhodes returns as a first-team punter.
Coleman (5-11, 192) is back for his senior season after intercepting three passes and recording 73 tackles to earn second-team honors last fall.
Rhodes was the first-team punter in 2001 after leading the Southland with a 45.7 average.
A team traditionally know for its defense, four of McNeese?s five first-team picks are on the offensive side of the ball.
Wide receiver Jermaine Martin (5-6, 147) of Lafayette, La., returns after finishing sixth in the Southland last season with 41 catches for 674 yards.
Tight end Jeff Hamilton (6-4, 219), a second-teamer last year, made the most of his 14 receptions last year as five of them went for touchdowns.
Jason Davis (6-0, 302) and Dwight Hudler (6-1, 288) represent the Cowboys on the offensive line. Hudler, a Mesquite, Texas, product, is one of two non-seniors on the first-team offensive unit. Both were second-team picks in 2001.
Linebacker Ryan Garrison (6-1, 230), a junior from Franklin, La., is the lone Cowboy defensive pick on the first team. Garrison helped McNeese lead the Southland and finish third in the nation in total defense last season at 253.6 yards allowed per game. He finished with 67 tackles, including nine quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for losses last season.
Northwestern State occupies five spots on the defensive unit, including senior Terrence McGee doubling up at cornerback and as a return specialist first-teamer. A former All-American, McGee (5-10, 184) averaged 24.1 yards per kickoff return last season and 16.9 on punt returns. In addition, he recorded 41 tackles from his cornerback position.
Ahmad Willis (6-1, 262) and Roy Locks (5-11, 240) occupy two of the four first-team defensive line spots. Willis, a senior from Quitman, Texas, returns after leading the Southland with 19 tackles for losses and 10.5 sacks a season ago. Locks, also a senior, came up with 41 total tackles as a junior.
Kurt Rodriquez (6-2, 238) moves up to the first team after being voted to the second squad following his junior season. He finished last year with 52 tackles and recovered two fumbles for the Demons.
Southwest Texas, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State each placed three on the first team while Nicholls State student-athletes occupy the final two places.
Running back Lee Davis, kicker Justin Martinez and linebacker Greg Pitts, all seniors, represent the Bobcats. Davis (5-10, 190) should be the focal point of the SWT offense in 2002 after finishing sixth in the Southland in rushing with 67.1 yards per game last year despite splitting duties with Bronson Sanders, who ran for 105.9 yards per game to finish second in the league.
Martinez (5-6, 167) returns after being voted first team last fall. He led the Southland in field goal percentage by hitting 12-of-17 (70.6) and was good on 17-of-19 extra-point tries.
Pitts (6-4, 230), a Lockhart, Texas, product, finished second in the Southland with 105 tackles as a junior. He was fifth in the Conference with 6.5 sacks and fourth with 14 tackles for lost yardage.
Dingle (5-11, 185), a senior from Tyler, Texas, finished second in the Southland last season with 54 receptions which went for 914 yards and six touchdowns.
Adams (6-3, 220) finished with 64 tackles from his end position. He finished third in the Southland with 15 tackles for losses.
Crocker (5-10, 195), a junior from Killeen, Texas, led the Southland in tackles with 112 last season.
Co-champion of the Southland along with McNeese State a year ago, SHSU returns two players as first-team offensive linemen and one in the first-team defensive line.
Seniors Chase Denton (6-5, 307) and Billy Williams (6-3, 329) anchor an offensive unit which led the Southland in total offense a year ago at 437.4 yards a contest. They also helped the Bearkats lead the Conference with 37.5 points per game, a mark which ranked seventh in the country.
Kelvin Randall (6-2, 256) returns for his senior season at SHSU as a first-team pick from 2001. He recorded just 44 tackles a year ago, but 13 went for lost yardage and eight were quarterback sacks.
Representing Nicholls State on the first team are holdovers Colt Colletti at fullback and Chris Thompson at cornerback.
As a freshman, Colletti (5-9, 215) finished seventh in the Southland with 59.6 yards per game.
Thompson (6-0, 190) returns for his junior season after finishing as one of the top defensive backs in the Southland a year ago. The New Orleans, La., product was tops in the league with five interceptions a year ago, including three in the season-ending win at Division I-A Arkansas State. He was also second in the Southland with 10 pass deflections and recovered two fumbles.
McNeese State leads all teams with six second-team picks. SFA placed five, while Nicholls and SHSU each landed four on the second team. Northwestern and JSU have three and SWT garners two second-teamers.
2002 PRESEASON ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE FOOTBALL TEAMS