Hansen, Bingham, Merritt, & Murray earn Sun Belt postseason honors

Hansen, Bingham, Merritt, & Murray earn Sun Belt postseason honors

Press Release from the Sun Belt Conference

On the eve of the inaugural Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game, the league unveiled its 2018 football postseason honors on Thursday.

Earning top individual honors are Arkansas State redshirt senior quarterback Justice Hansen (Player of the Year), Appalachian State sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas (Offensive Player of the Year), Arkansas State senior defensive lineman Ronheen Bingham (Defensive Player of the Year), Arkansas State freshman running back Marcel Murray (Freshman of the Year), Arkansas State junior wide receiver Kirk Merritt (Newcomer of the Year) and Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield (Coach of the Year) in a vote by the conference’s head coaches and selected media.

Hansen, Bingham and Merritt received All-Sun Belt honors on the first team, while Thomas was recognized on the second team and Murray garnered a nod on the third team.

Hansen, a two-time, All-Sun Belt first-team selection and 2017 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, leads the league in total offense per game (297.3), passing yards per game (264.3), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202). His 27 passing touchdowns are already the second-most in school history. Hansen enters the Red Wolves’ bowl game in the conference’s career top 10 in two categories – second in passing touchdowns (83) and sixth all-time leader in total offense (10,807). He is listed on eight major award watch lists, including the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Senior Bowl.

Thomas tops the Sun Belt and ranks 13th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with a 79.9 QBR rating. He ranks among the nation’s best in passing efficiency (156.5), yards per attempt (8.24) and yards per completion (12.95). Appalachian State is 8-1 overall and 6-0 in conference games this season in games Thomas played the full game.

Bingham paces the Sun Belt and ranks tied for 21st in nation in sacks (9.0, 0.75 per game). He also leads the league and ranks tied for 11th in tackles for loss (18.5, 1.5 per game). Bingham has been responsible for at least a 0.5 tackle for loss in 10 games and credited for multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage in six outings. His 5.4 tackles per game ranks tied for eighth in the nation among defensive linemen. Bingham posted double-figure stops in two games, including a career-high 13 tackles against Louisiana on Oct. 27.

Murray has made an immediate impact in his first season at Arkansas State, finishing the regular season ranked in the Sun Belt’s top 10 in two categories – fourth in rushing yards per attempt (5.8) among players with at least 100 carries and tied for eighth in rushing yards per game (66.1). He is the only freshman in the Sun Belt on offense or defense ranked among the top 10 in the league in multiple statistical categories. Murray recorded two 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 121 yards against Louisiana.

Merritt has come up big in his first season with the Red Wolves, leading the Sun Belt in receptions per game (6.3), which sits tied for 20th nationally. He also leads the league in receptions (75) and receiving yards (939). Merritt hauled in a career-high 11 receptions at Georgia Southern on Sept. 29 and at Coastal Carolina at Nov. 10, which tied for seventh-most in a single game in school history. In the victory over the Chanticleers, his 11 catches went for a career-high 180 yards, which ranks as the ninth-most in school history.

Satterfield guided Appalachian State to the East Division title and the right to host the inaugural Sun Belt Football Championship Game with a 9-2 record overall and a 7-1 mark in league play. He earned his 50th win at the school with the victory over Troy on Nov. 24. Satterfield ranks third in coaching wins in program history behind Jerry Moore (215) and E.C. Duggins (57). He is tied for sixth nationally with 39 wins since 2015 and holds a 43-7 record against opponents from Group of Five conferences and a 34-6 record against Sun Belt opponents.

Troy collected the most All-Sun Belt selections with 21, headlined by six first-team honors, followed by Appalachian State with 20 and Arkansas State with 16.

2018 SUN BELT FOOTBALL POSTSEASON HONORS

All-Sun Belt First Team

Offense

Justice Hansen, Arkansas State (R-Sr., QB, Edmond, Okla.)

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (So., RB, Oak Hill, Fla.)

B.J. Smith, Troy (Jr., RB, Millbrook, Ala.)

Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State (Jr., WR, Destrehan, La.)

Marcus Green, ULM (Sr., WR, Pontotoc, Miss.)

Damion Willis, Troy (Sr., WR, Meridian, Miss.)

Keenen Brown, Texas State (Sr., TE, Houston, Texas)

Victor Johnson, Appalachian State (Jr., OL, North Augusta, S.C.)

Lanard Bonner, Arkansas State (Sr., OL, Birmingham, Ala.)

Curtis Rainey, Georgia Southern (Sr., OL, Jacksonville, Fla.)

Kevin Dotson, Louisiana (Jr., OL, Plaquemine, La.)

Kirk Kelley, Troy (Jr., OL, Marrero, La.)

Defense

MyQuon Stout, Appalachian State (Sr., DL, Salisbury, N.C.)

Ronheen Bingham, Arkansas State (Sr., DL, Bennettsville, S.C.)

Jeffrey Gunter, Coastal Carolina (So., DL, Durham, N.C.)

Trevon Sanders, Troy (Sr., DL, Charleston, S.C.)

Jordan Fehr, Appalachian State (Jr., LB, Charlotte, N.C.)

Bryan London II, Texas State (Jr., LB, Converse, Texas)

Hunter Reese, Troy (Sr., LB, Wetumpka, Ala.)

Clifton Duck, Appalachian State (Jr., DB, Matthews, N.C.)

Desmond Franklin, Appalachian State (Jr., DB, Inverness, Fla.)

Justin Clifton, Arkansas State (Sr., DB, Tupelo, Miss.)

Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern (Jr., DB, College Park, Ga.)

Cedarius Rookard, Troy (Sr., DB, Spartanburg, S.C.)

Special Teams

Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern (R-Jr., PK, Irmo, S.C.)

Brandon Wright, Georgia State (R-Jr., P, Atlanta, Ga.)

Marcus Jones, Troy (So., RS, Enterprise, Ala.)

Marcus Green, ULM (Sr., AP, Pontotoc, Miss.)

All-Sun Belt Second Team

Offense

Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (So., QB, Trussville, Ala.)

Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (So., RB, Erath, La.)

Wesley Fields, Georgia Southern (Sr., RB, Americus, Ga.)

Corey Sutton, Appalachian State (So., WR, Cornelius, N.C.)

Justin McInnis, Arkansas State (Sr., WR, Pierrefonds, Quebec, Canada)

Jamarius Way, South Alabama (Sr., WR, Belle Glade, Fla.)

Javonis Isaac, Arkansas State (So., TE, Lafayette, La.)

Chandler Greer, Appalachian State (Sr., OL, Knoxville, Tenn.)

Noah Hannon, Appalachian State (So., OL, Greer, S.C.)

Jeremiah Culbreth, Georgia Southern (Sr., OL, Fairburn, Ga.)

Robert Hunt, Louisiana (Jr., OL, Burkeville, Texas)

Deontae Crumitie, Troy (Sr., OL, Lake City, Fla.)

Defense

William Bradley-King, Arkansas State (R-So., DL, Kansas City, Mo.)

Forrest Merrill, Arkansas State (Jr., DL, Willard, Mo.)

Raymond Johnson III, Georgia Southern (So., DL, Sumter, S.C.)

Tyree Turner, South Alabama (Jr., DL, Stockbridge, Ga.)

Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State (Jr., LB, Thomasville, N.C.)

David Griffith, ULM (Sr., LB, Plano, Texas)

Bull Barge, South Alabama (Sr., LB, Moultrie, Ga.)

Tron Folsom, Troy (Jr., LB, Alma, Ga.)

Jerry Jacobs, Arkansas State (So., DB, Atlanta, Ga.)

Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern (Jr., DB, Atlanta, Ga.)

Nigel Lawrence, South Alabama (Sr., DB, Smiths Station, Ala.)

Marcus Jones, Troy (So., DB, Enterprise, Ala.)

Special Teams

Tyler Sumpter, Troy (So., PK, Hoover, Ala.)

Cody Grace, Arkansas State (Jr., P, Perth, Western Australia, Australia)

Tra Minter, South Alabama (Jr., RS, Ellaville, Ga.)

Tra Minter, South Alabama (Jr., AP, Ellaville, Ga.)

All-Sun Belt Third Team

Offense

Caleb Evans, ULM (Jr., QB, Mansfield, Texas)

Marcel Murray, Arkansas State (Fr., RB, Hiram, Ga.)

Trey Ragas, Louisiana (So., RB, New Orleans, La.)

Penny Hart, Georgia State (Jr., WR, Roswell, Ga.)

Ja’Marcus Bradley, Louisiana (Jr., WR, Ackerman, Miss.)

Deondre Douglas, Troy (Sr., WR, Madison, Ala.)

Collin Reed, Appalachian State (Jr., TE, Boiling Springs, S.C.)

Hunter Atkinson, Georgia State (Jr., OL, Flowery Branch, Ga.)

T.J. Fiailoa, ULM (So., OL, Lawton, Okla.)

Bobby Reynolds, ULM (Jr., OL, Keller, Texas)

Tristan Crowder, Troy (Jr., OL, Carrollton, Ga.)

J.l. Gaston, Troy (Jr., OL, Monroeville, Ala.)

Defense

Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (So., DL, Aiken, S.C.)

Logan Hunt, Georgia Southern (Sr., DL, Sandersville, Ga.)

Zi’Yon Hill, Louisiana (R-Fr., DL, New Iberia, La.)

Antione Barker, Troy (Jr., DL, Pensacola, Fla.)

Jarvis Hayes, Troy (Jr., DL, Slocomb, Ala.)

Anthony Flory, Appalachian State (Sr., LB, Miramar, Fla.)

Jacques Boudreaux, Louisiana (Jr., LB, New Orleans, La.)

Nikolas Daniels, Texas State (Jr., LB, League City, Texas)

Tae Hayes, Appalachian State (Sr., DB, Decatur, Ala.)

Darreon Jackson, Arkansas State (R-Jr., DB, Derby, Kan.)

Blace Brown, Troy (Sr., DB, Canton, Ga.)

Tyler Murray, Troy (So., DB, Baldwin, Fla.)

Special Teams

Massimo Biscardi, Coastal Carolina (Fr., PK, Downingtown, Pa)

Tyler Sumpter, Troy (So., P, Hoover, Ala.)

Clifton Duck, Appalachian State (Jr., RS, Matthews, N.C.)

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (So., AP, Oak Hill, Fla.)

All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention

Noel Cook, Appalachian State (Jr., LB, Reidsville, N.C.)

Ryan Neuzil, Appalachian State (So., OL, Bradenton, Fla.)

Henry Pearson, Appalachian State (Fr., TE, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.)

Josh Thomas, Appalachian State (Jr., DB, Montgomery, Ala.)

Omar Bayless, Arkansas State (R-Jr., WR, Laurel, Miss.)

Jacob Still, Arkansas State (R-So., OL, Collierville, Tenn.)

Kevin Thurmon, Arkansas State (R-Jr., DL, Chicago, Ill.)

Warren Wand, Arkansas State (Sr., RB, Edmond, Okla.)

Trey Carter, Coastal Carolina (So., OL, Monroeville, Ala.)

Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina (So., LB, Mount Airy, Md.)

Connor Kubala, Coastal Carolina (Sr., LS, Evans, Ga.)

Malcolm Williams, Coastal Carolina (Sr., WR, Shreveport, La.)

Rashad Byrd, Georgia Southern (R-So., LB, North Augusta, S.C.)

Wesley Kennedy III, Georgia Southern (So., RB, Savannah, Ga.)

Ty Phillips, Georgia Southern (Jr., DL, Moultrie, Ga.)

Shai Werts, Georgia Southern (R-So., QB, Clinton, S.C.)

Dan Ellington, Georgia State (Jr., QB, Olive Branch, Miss.)

Shamarious Gilmore, Georgia State (R-So., OL, Riverdale, Ga.)

Cornelius McCoy, Georgia State (Fr., WR, Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

Terry Thomas, Georgia State (Jr., DL, McDonough, Ga.)

Raymond Calais, Louisiana (Jr., RB, Breaux Bridge, La.)

Bennie Higgins, Louisiana (Jr., DE, Greenwood, Miss.)

Justin Middleton, Louisiana (Sr., LB, Mansfield, Texas)

Kyle Pfau, Louisiana (Sr., PK, Klein, Texas)

Derrick Gore, ULM (Sr., RB, Syracuse, N.Y.)

Marcus Hubbard, ULM (Sr., DB, Rowlett, Texas)

Donald Louis Jr., ULM (Jr., DL, Monroe, La.)

Jaylen Veasley, ULM (Jr., DL, Rockwall, Texas)

Ryan Alexander, South Alabama (Jr., OL, Floral Park, N.Y.)

Kawaan Baker, South Alabama (So., WR, Atlanta, Ga.)

Jordon Beaton, South Alabama (Jr., DL, Gulfport, Miss.)

Darian Mills, South Alabama (Sr., DB, Winter Haven, Fla.)

Aaron Brewer, Texas State (Jr., OL, Dallas, Texas)

Frankie Griffin, Texas State (Sr., LB, Spring, Texas)

Jeremiah Haydel, Texas State (So., WR, Houston, Texas)

Hutch White, Texas State (Jr., WR, Kerrville, Texas)

Sidney Davis, Troy (Sr., WR, Natchez, Miss.)

Terence Dunlap, Troy (So., DB, Maplesville, Ala.)

Melvin Tyus, Troy (Jr., DB, Montgomery, Ala.)

Marcus Webb, Troy (Jr., DL, Decatur, Ala.)

Sun Belt Player of the Year

Justice Hansen, Arkansas State (R-Sr., QB, Edmond, Okla.)

Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year

Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (So., QB, Trussville, Ala.)

Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year

Ronheen Bingham, Arkansas State (Sr., DL, Bennettsville, S.C.)

Sun Belt Freshman of the Year

Marcel Murray, Arkansas State (Fr., RB, Hiram, Ga.)

Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year

Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State (Jr., WR, Destrehan, La.)

Sun Belt Coach of the Year

Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State

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