Monday, July 23, 2018

Five Mountaineers Named Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference; Duck Named Defensive POY

NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference announced Friday its 2018 Preseason All-Sun Belt Football Team and individual awards, as voted upon by the 10 football head coaches and selected media representatives.

Arkansas State's Justice Hansen was tabbed as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Appalachian State's Clifton Duck was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Hansen was the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference honoree. The redshirt-senior from Edmond, Okla., started every game for the Red Wolves and led the Sun Belt with 37 touchdowns through the air, breaking the previous Sun Belt record of 32. He finished the 2017 season with 3,967 yards passing on 305 attempts, averaging 330.6 yards per game.

Additionally, Hansen tallied 663 yards rushing and seven scores. Hansen had a hand in 44 of Arkansas State's 59 touchdowns scored last season. His passing touchdown totals shattered the previous A-State record, giving him 56 for his career at A-State. The redshirt-senior needs just 11 more to tie for the all-time lead in A-State history.

Hansen finished the 2017 season with three games over 400 yards passing, six games over 300 and a career-high, 520, set against ULM.

Duck, a junior defensive back from Matthews, N.C., led the Sun Belt with six interceptions last season. He has tallied 11 in his two seasons in Boone. That total ties for the most in the nation over the past two seasons, along with fellow Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team selection, Blace Brown of Troy.

Duck totaled 50 tackles a year ago to go along with his league-leading interceptions and posted six total pass breakups. When targeted, the junior corner allowed a league-low 35.5 passer rating, ranking ninth of any returning FBS corner. During his first two seasons in Boone, Duck has been chosen as an All-Sun Belt First Team performer, earning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors in 2016.

Troy led all teams with 11 total selections on the Preseason All-Sun Belt First and Second Teams, six of which were placed on the First Team and five on the Second Team. Arkansas State had nine student-athletes between the two teams while Appalachian State placed seven.

The honorees include 27 seniors between the two teams comprised of 52 total student-athletes. There are 17 seniors and nine juniors on the first team while the second team is comprised of 10 seniors, 10 juniors and six sophomores.

Sun Belt Media Day will be held in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, July 22-23. Live coverage of the event begins at 8:30 a.m. CT and will run until 5:00 p.m. CT via the Sun Belt YouTube page as well as ESPN3. ESPN3 will be live at Media Day with all 10 head coaches being featured from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. CT.

The 2018 season kicks off on Thursday, August 30, with two games as Georgia State hosts Kennesaw State (6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+) and ULM welcomes Southeastern Louisiana (7:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+). The 2018 Sun Belt Football Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday, December 1. Time, television and location will be determined at a later date.

2018 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Teams

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Justice Hansen (Arkansas State, QB, RS-Senior)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Clifton Duck (Appalachian State, DB, Junior)

* - named to 2017 Preseason Teams
^ - named to 2017 All-Sun Belt First Team
# - named to 2017 All-Sun Belt Second Team
$ - named to 2017 All-Sun Belt Third Team
! - named 2017 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention

First Team Offense
QB - Justice Hansen (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) ^
RB - Jalin Moore (Appalachian State, Senior) *^
RB - Warren Wand (Arkansas State, Senior)
WR - Justin McInnis (Arkansas State, Senior) $
WR - Penny Hart (Georgia State, RS-Junior) *^
WR - Marcus Green (ULM, Senior)
TE - Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Junior) !
OL - Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Junior) *^
OL - Lanard Bonner (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) ^
OL - Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, Junior) #
OL - Tristan Crowder (Troy, Junior) #
OL - Deontae Crumitie (Troy, Senior) *#

First Team Defense
DL - Ronheen Bingham (Arkansas State, Senior) #
DL - Logan Hunt (Georgia Southern, Senior) #
DL - Hunter Reese (Troy, Senior) ^
DL - Trevon Sanders (Troy, Senior) #
LB - Anthony Flory (Appalachian State, Senior) !
LB - Michael Shaw (Georgia State, RS-Senior) $
LB - Tron Folsom (Troy, Junior) #
DB - Clifton Duck (Appalachian State, Junior) *^
DB - Justin Clifton (Arkansas State, Senior) *#
DB - Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Junior) #
DB - Blace Brown (Troy, Senior) ^

First Team Special Teams
K - Gavin Patterson (South Alabama, Senior) ^
P - Corliss Waitman (South Alabama, Senior) ^
RS - Marcus Green (ULM, Senior) ^

Second Team Offense
QB - Caleb Evans (ULM, Junior) !
RB - Wesley Fields (Georgia Southern, Senior) !
RB - Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore) $
WR - RJ Turner (ULM, Junior) $
WR - Jamarius Way (South Alabama, Senior) #
WR - Deondre Douglas (Troy, Senior) *#
TE - Ellis Richardson (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior)
OL - Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Sophomore) !
OL - Curtis Rainey (Georgia Southern, Senior) !
OL - Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Junior)
OL - Shamarious Gilmore (Georgia State, Sophomore) !
OL - Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Junior) *$

Second Team Defense
DL - Myquon Stout (Appalachian State, Senior) *!
DL - Marterious Allen (Georgia State, Senior) $
DL - Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Junior)
DL - Marcus Webb (Troy, Junior) !
LB - Silas Kelly (Coastal Carolina, Sophomore) !
LB - Bull Barge (South Alabama, Senior) !
LB - Bryan London II (Texas State, Junior) *!
DB - Tae Hayes (Appalachian State, Senior) #
DB - BJ Edmonds (Arkansas State, Junior) !
DB - Marcus Jones (Troy, Sophomore)
DB - Cedarius Rookard (Troy, Senior) $

Second Team Special Teams
K - Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Junior) #
P - Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Junior) $
RS - Marcus Jones (Troy, Sophomore) #