JONESBORO, Ark. (12/7/16) – Arkansas State junior defensive end Ja'Von Rolland-Jones was selected the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year as he highlighted 16 All-Conference selections for the Red Wolves, the league office announced Wednesday.
The 2016 Sun Belt Conference Champions, Arkansas State saw 10 or more named all-conference for the seventh consecutive year and tenth time since the league's inaugural football season in 2001. The 16 all-conference players also tied the mark for most ever by an A-State team, matching the total from 2015.
Rolland-Jones, who is just the second defensive player in SBC history to earn the league's top honor, racked up 11.5 sacks on the season, the second most in the league and also tied for the Sun Belt lead with 18.5 tackles for loss. He also became A-State's all-time career sacks leader with 28.5, breaking the marking of 28 career held by Marvin Neloms (1983-86). The Mesquite, Texas native ranks fifth among all-active FBS players in career sacks and is fourth in career sacks per game (0.81).
He finished the regular season with 53 tackles, the most by an A-State defensive linemen on the year, and tied for the team lead with six quarterback hurries. Rolland-Jones posted multiple tackles in 11 of 12 games this season, including a career-high 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Joining Rolland-Jones as A-State's first-team selections were senior offensive lineman Jemar Clark, senior defensive end Chris Odom and senior defensive back Money Hunter.
Odom led the Sun Belt with 12.5 sacks, while also registering 17.5 tackles for loss. He was named the SBC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, including the final week of the season when he recorded three sacks to match a career-high. His 12.5 sacks on the year are also tied for third most in a single season in A-State history. He, along with Rolland-Jones, combined for 24 sacks on the season to give them more than 50 teams in FBS this season.
Clark helped pave the way for the league's fourth best scoring offense at 27 points per game and served in pass protection as the Red Wolves threw for 2,943 yards. As a unit, the offense finished with 4,698, the ninth most in school history for a single season.
Hunter became the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in career interceptions returned for a touchdown when he brought the fourth of his collegiate career against New Mexico State earlier this season. He also ranks second in SBC history, and third in A-State history, with 268 interception return yards to his credit. He was third on the team with 73 tackles, had three pass breakups and recovered a pair of fumbles.
A-State's second-team choices included junior tight end Blake Mack, senior offensive lineman Colton Jackson, senior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster, senior defensive back Cody Brown and sophomore defensive back Justin Clifton. Junior Blaise Taylor and sophomore Warren Wand were also named to the second-team special teams unit.
Receiving honorable mentions honors for the Red Wolves were senior defensive lineman Waylon Roberson, senior wide out Kendall Sanders, senior defensive back Chris Humes and redshirt sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen.
As part of its all-conference team, the Sun Belt also announced a Newcomer Team comprised of one player from each school. Representing the Red Wolves was junior linebacker Kyle Wilson.
Arkansas State will take on Central Florida in the AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital on Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. (CT) in Orlando, Fla. Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets for the Cure Bowl through the A-State Ticket Office to directly support the Red Wolves' bowl trip and to ensure they receive priority seating within the designated Arkansas State area.
Fans can purchase tickets, as well view additional details regarding A-State's trip to the Cure Bowl, online by visiting www.AStateRedWolves.com/BowlCentral. Sideline tickets and end zone tickets are available for $53 and $28, respectively.