JONESBORO (8/24/17) – Arkansas State defensive lineman Dee Liner and defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, both preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, have been named to the 2018 Senior Bowl Watch List.
Liner and Rolland-Jones were part of a defensive line that helped the Red Wolves lead the nation in tackles for loss last season (9.6 per game), while also ranking No. 6 in sacks (3.31 average). A-State also ranked 19th nationally in scoring defense (21.5 ppg) and 29th in total defense (362.8 ypg), helping the Red Wolves claim their fifth league title over the last six seasons.
Including Liner and Rolland-Jones, the Red Wolves have now placed nine players on the watch list all-time. Most recently, tight end Darion Griswold and wide receivers Tres Houston and J.D. McKissic were 2015 selections. Linebacker Qushaun Lee (2014), safety Sterling Young (2014), quarterback Ryan Aplin (2012) and receiver Josh Jarboe (2012) have also appeared on the list.
This year’s Senior Bowl Watch List features 401 players from 10 different conferences, independents, FCS, Division II and Division III schools from around the nation. Rolland-Jones is among 26 defensive ends, and Liner is one of 31 defensive tackles selected.
Not only was Liner named a preseason Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, he was also listed in Phil Steele’s annual football publication as the No. 40-ranked “Top NFL Draft Eligible Defensive Tackle” in the nation. The senior from Muscle Shoals, Ala., recorded 34 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and one sack in 2016.
Rolland-Jones enters his senior season with 30.5 career sacks, leaving him 13.5 shy of the NCAA FBS record (44.0) currently held by Terrell Suggs (Arizona State, 2000-02). The Mesquite, Texas native’s preseason honors also include appearances on the Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski, and Ted Hendricks Award watch lists, as well as earning other recognition such as the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The Red Wolves will open their 2017 season at Nebraska on Sept. 2 at 7:00 p.m. They will play their home opener Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m. against Miami.