Press Release from the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference announced on Monday the 20 student-athlete attendees for the upcoming Sun Belt Football Media Day, which will be conducted in New Orleans, July 21-22.
Joined by their head coach, two student-athletes will represent each Sun Belt institution.
Sun Belt Media Day begins Sunday, July 21 with the Sun Belt Fais-DoDo taking place at Mardi Gras World. Monday, July 22 will see the formal portion of Media Day begin at 8 a.m. CT in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill will give his “State of the Conference” address Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT.
The complete Media Day schedule can be found at the following link:
Sun Belt Conference Football Media Day - Student-Athlete Attendees
BJ Edmonds (Sr., DB, Mobile, Ala.)
2019 Athlon preseason 3rd Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . 2018 Preseason Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Played in 12 games at safety, starting 11, posting 57 tackles (34 solo), three pass breakups, six passes defensed and three interceptions . . . One of just 19 players in the nation to record at least 80 tackles, four pass break-ups and three interceptions . . . Posted 8 or more tackles in three games . . . Recorded multiple tackles in all but one game and finished with at least four stops in eight games . . . Three interceptions were the second-most on the team and tied the seventh most in the Sun Belt . . . A-State Athletics Director’s Honor Roll
Kirk Merritt (Sr., WR, Destrehan, La.)
First Team All-Sun Belt Conference...Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year...Phil Steele’s First Team All-Sun Belt...Played in all 13 games, including 11 as a starter...Finished his first season at A-State with 83 receptions for 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns...83 receptions were the third most in school history, while also the most in the Sun Belt during the 2018 season...Averaged 6.4 receptions per game, the 20th highest in the nation...Either led A-State or tied for the team high in receptions in nine of 13 games...Became the fourth player in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and his 1,005 total ranked as third most ever by an A-State player...Led the Sun Belt in receiving yards and ranked 35th in the nation in 2018...Caught at least three passes in every game, including a season-high 11 against both Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina that tied the seventh most in school history...Went over 100-yards receiving in three contests, including a season-high 180 versus Coastal that were the ninth most ever by an A-State player.
Josh Thomas (Sr., DB, Montgomery, Ala.)
One of four team captains and one of two juniors in that role last season … Second-team All-Sun Belt from PFF College … Started all 13 games at free safety … Totaled 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions, including one apiece in the Sun Belt Championship Game and R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl … Made a career-high eight tackles (all solo) in the 45-13 bowl win and intercepted a pass at the App State 15 with Middle Tennessee looking to add on to a 3-0 lead … Intercepted a pass in the second quarter of App State’s 30-19 win against Louisiana in the Sun Belt title game … Also had picks at Arkansas State and at Coastal Carolina, two of three opponents that didn’t score an offensive touchdown against the Mountaineers … In the opening minutes at Texas State, forced a fumble at the App State 34 to help swing momentum in a 38-7 victory … Key part of stingy defense that set a Sun Belt record by allowing only 20 defensive touchdowns, and the eight touchdown passes allowed tied for the national lead. Appalachian was No. 3 nationally with only eight passes of 30-plus yards allowed and No. 4 with one pass of 50-plus yards allowed.
Zac Thomas (Jr., QB, Trussville, Ala.)
Played and started in 12 of 13 games in 2018 … Injury limited to three plays at Georgia Southern, so otherwise was 10-1 as a starter with the lone loss coming during his first career start in an overtime game at No. 9 Penn State … Completed 159 of 254 passes (62.6 percent) for 2,039 yards with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Also had 92 rushes for 504 yards (5.5 average, counting sacks) with a team-high 10 touchdowns on the ground … One of five FBS quarterbacks in 2018 with at least 20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs … Led Sun Belt quarterbacks in QBR, passing efficiency, yards per completion and point responsibility per game … In his first career start at Penn State, completed 25 of 38 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 43 yards with one touchdown. In the fourth quarter, completed 9 of 15 passes for 153 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing) as the Mountaineers turned a 14-point deficit into a 38-31 lead before Penn State won 45-38 in overtime. He finished a single yard short of tying the school record for total offense by a quarterback in his starting debut … Named the CFPA’s National Performer of the Week by going 14-of-14 for a season-high 295 yards and three passing TDs at Charlotte, marking the first time an App State or Sun Belt QB finished a game with 10-plus completions and no incompletions … As MVP of the New Orleans Bowl, had three passing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown while having a hand in 213 yards (177 passing, 28 rushing, 8 receiving). Had TD passes of 1, 17 and 11 yards in that win, and his touchdown catch on an 8-yard wide receiver pass from Malik Williams was the first catch of a TD pass by an App State quarterback in at least 35 years … Had touchdown runs of 25 and 35 yards in a 30-19 win against Louisiana in the first Sun Belt Championship Game … To reach the title game, threw two TD passes and rushed for a touchdown to help App State build a 21-0 lead in a 21-10 win against Troy in the regular season finale … Had touchdown runs of 50-plus yards against South Alabama (54) and Arkansas State (62) … After sitting out a win at Coastal Carolina, was 63-for-97 passing for 717 yards with 11 total TDs (seven passing) and no INTs in the next four games.
Trey Carter (r-Jr., OL, Monroeville, Ala.)
Named All-Sun Belt honorable mention … Played in and started all 12 games at center for the Chants … Part of the offensive unit up front that led the CCU rushing attack to rank fourth in the Sun Belt and 41st nationally with an average of 198.7 rushing yards per game … Helped lead the way for the Chants offense to total 574 offensive yards in the win at Campbell (Sept. 12), the most for a CCU offense in a single game since 2015 … Graded out as the top offensive lineman in 10 of the 12 games on the season … Recorded a season-high 15 takedown blocks in the road win at UMass (Oct. 20) … Also totaled 14 knockdown blocks in the road win at Louisiana (Sept. 22) and the following week on the road at Troy (Sept. 29) … Also totaled 13 knockdown blocks at home versus ULM (Oct. 13) and 12 against Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) … A member of the President’s List (4.0 GPA) in the fall of 2018 and the Dean’s List in spring 2019 ... A member of the Team Leadership Council for 2018.
Tarron Jackson (r-Jr, DE, Aiken, S.C.)
Named to the All-Sun Belt third team … Played and started all 12 games this season for the Chants at defensive end, despite battling through a leg injury all season long … Named the BAM Defensive Player of the Week in the win over UAB (Sept. 8) … Second on the team and fifth overall in the Sun Belt in tackles-for-loss with 11.0 on the year, an average of 0.92 per game … Totaled 58 tackles on the season, including 3.0 sacks, and was tied with fellow defensive end Jeffrey Gunter for the team-lead with five quarterback hurries … Totaled eight tackles, including 2.0 tackles-for-loss in the win over UAB … Also had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries in the home win over the Blazers … Had six tackles, 1.0 tackle-for-loss and one quarterback hurry in the road win at Campbell (Sept. 12) … Continued his strong play with five tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and 0.5 sacks at Louisiana (Sept. 22) … Picked up three stops, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss at Troy (Sept. 29) … Recorded one tackle versus ULM (Oct. 13) before leaving the game due to an injury … Bounced back to post six tackles and a season-high 2.5 tackles-for-loss at UMass (Oct. 20) … Also had one sack and one pass breakup versus the Minutemen … Registered four tackles, including 1.0 tackle-for-loss in the win at Georgia State (Oct. 27) … Tallied a season-high nine tackles, including five solo stops, in the contest versus Appalachian State (Nov. 3) … Finished the game with four tackles against Arkansas State (Nov. 10) … Posted six tackles overall in both the Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) and South Alabama (Nov. 23) contests … A member of the Dean’s List in the spring 2019 semester ... A member of the Team Leadership Council for 2018.
Tyler Bass (r-Sr., PK, Irmo, S.C.)
Played in all 13 games … A second-team All-American as named by Chris Sailer Kicking … A first-team All-Sun Belt selection by The Sun Belt, Southern Pigskin, Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele … A semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award … Tied the school record with 19 field goals on the season, including 10 of 40 yards or longer … Was 45-for-45 on PATs and threw a two-point conversion … Punted three times for an average of 47.0 yards … Had a long of 58 yards … Had 76 kickoffs, 52 of which went for touchbacks … Also had six tackles on kickoff coverage … Had eight games with two more made field goals … Hit a 50-yard field goal against UMass … Was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against New Mexico State … Hit two field goals, six PATs and had seven touchbacks in that game … Lifted the Eagles to a 23-21 Camellia Bowl win with a 40-yard field goal as the horn sound sounded … Also had a 50-yard field goal to end the first half and a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter … Named to the AP All-Bowl Team for his performance … Made the Dean’s List in the fall for posting above a 3.5 GPA … Made the Honor Roll in the spring for posting above a 3.0 GPA.
Kindle Vildor (Sr., DB, College Park, Ga.)
Played in and started all 13 games … Had a big junior year, racking up numerous honors … Named a second-team All-American and the Sun Belt Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus … Earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors from the league, Pro Football Focus, Phil Steele and Southern Pigskin … Was on the field for 831 total plays (815 defensive, 16 special teams) … Tallied 42 tackles on the season, including 4.5 for loss … Led the team with four interceptions … Also had a team-high 11 pass breakups … Started the season with four tackles against South Carolina State … Didn’t allow a completion in coverage at No. 2 Clemson and picked off a Kelly Bryant pass … Posted seven tackles and two pass breakups against Arkansas State … Had a tackle for loss against South Alabama … Recorded seven tackles and an interception at New Mexico State … Was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Appalachian State … Had two interceptions in that win … Had four tackles against Troy … Had three tackles against Eastern Michigan in the bowl game win … Made the Honor Roll in the fall for posting above a 3.0 GPA.
Ed Curney (r-Sr., LB, Atlanta, Ga.)
Three-year letterwinner and returning starter at inside linebacker ... Has 139 career tackles, including six tackles for loss ... Sat out the 2016 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. Starting linebacker and a 2018 team captain ... Team’s leading tackler with 81 ... Career-high 11 tackles at NC State, which he equalled at Troy ... Added 10 tackles with a tackle for loss at Louisiana ... Had five tackles and a sack at Arkansas State ... Eight tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Coastal Carolina.
Dan Ellington (Sr., QB, Olive Branch, Miss.)
Returning starter at quarterback coming off an all-conference season in his first year for the Panthers ... Talented dual-threat quarterback who transferred from Itawamba (Miss.) C.C. First-year starting quarterback in 2018 who was named All-Sun Belt Conference (honorable mention) ... Ranked third in the Sun Belt in passing (192.6) and total offense (249.5 pg) while accounting for 17 TDs ... Team’s leading rusher with 625 yards, the third-highest season total in GSU history, and five touchdowns ... Completed 174-of-292 passes for 2,119 yards and 12 touchdowns ... Threw just five interceptions on the season, the fewest ever by a GSU starting quarterback. That includes a string of 149 passes without an interception, the second-longest streak in school history.
Jarrod Jackson (r-Sr., WR, Reserve, La.)
Played in all 14 games last season...Finished 2018 with 19 receptions and 325 yards receiving along with four touchdowns...Tied for second on the team in receiving TDs and third on the team in yards per catch (17.1)...The 325 reception yards ranked fourth on the Cajuns squad. Recorded a season-high 129 yards in the 47-43 win over Arkansas State (10/27)...Had 63 yards and two scores on four receptions in a 66-38 win over New Mexico State (10/13).
Deuce Wallace (r-Sr., DB, Lafayette, La.)
Was awarded a full scholarship prior to the 2018 season, starting all 14 games...Had 40 tackles on the season with 29 solo and 11 assisted...Registered one interception and one forced fumble on the season...Recorded three or more stops in nine games...Totaled three tackles for loss along with three passes defensed and two pass breakups...Tallied one sack in the bowl game against Tulane (12/15)...Tied a career-high six stops against Appalachian State (10/20).
Caleb Evans (Sr., QB, Mansfield, Texas)
Enters his third full season as ULM’s starting quarterback (22 consecutive starts)...has completed 518-of-862 passes (.601) for 6,571 yards, 37 TDs and 24 interceptions in 31 career games...already ranks among ULM’s all-time Top 10 in completion percentage (second), passing efficiency rating (third at 132.7), total offense (third with 7,945 career yards), pass completions (fifth), passing yards (sixth), pass attempts (seventh) and TD passes (seventh)...named All-Sun Belt Third Team as a junior...ranked second the Sun Belt in passing yards (239.1 per game) and total offense (297.1 ypg.) in 2018...completed 231-of-374 throws (.618) for 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions...led the Warhawks in rushing TDs (10) and ranked second on the team in rushing with a career-high 632 rushing yards (140 carries)...recorded his ninth 200-yard passing game of the season and 16th of his career, completing 15-of-24 passes for 201 yards, two TDs and one interception in the regular-season finale against the Ragin’ Cajuns...hit 17-of-28 throws for 218 yards, one TD and three interceptions at Arkansas State.
Donald Louis Jr. (Sr., DL, Monroe, La.)
Has started 24 consecutive games at defensive end for the Warhawks...received All-Sun Belt honorable mention as a junior...ranked third on the team in tackles for loss (6.5 for 36 yards) and sacks (4.5 for 31 yards) – both totals represent career highs...listed among the Sun Belt’s Top 15 in sacks (12th at 0.38 per game)...recorded 31 total tackles (15 solos, 16 assists) in 2018...registered five solo tackles at Georgia State, including a 7-yard sack...named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week after setting career highs for tackles for loss (3 for 19 yards) and sacks (2 for 15 yards) in ULM’s 21-20 win at Southern Miss; his six total tackles also matched his career high...his 6-yard sack on USM’s second possession produced a fumble that Sam Miller recovered in the end zone for a touchdown to tie the score at 7-7.
Tra Minter (Sr., RB, Ellaville, Ga.)
As a junior in 2018, Minter was voted second-team all-Sun Belt Conference both as a return specialist and all-purpose back, and was a second-team all-league selection as a returner by Phil Steele Publications as well ... Started all but one of the Jaguars’ 12 contests ... Led the team in rushing with 801 yards on 183 carries while running back 29 kickoffs for 710 yards and returning six punts for another 91 ... Posted 23 receptions for 201 yards as well ... Scored seven touchdowns, six rushing with the other coming on a punt return ... Paced the squad with 1,803 all-purpose yards and was second in total offense ... Led the Sun Belt and was eighth nationally with 150.25 all-purpose yards per game, and also ranked third in the conference and 31st in the country averaging 24.48 yards per kick return ... Finished seventh in the league and was among the top 100 in the nation in rushing yards per game as well ... Had 31 plays of 20-plus yards, 18 more than any other player on the roster ... Was the team’s leading rusher nine times during the season, accomplishing the feat in each of the last five contests.
Tyree Turner (Sr., DL, Stockbridge, Ga.)
As a junior in 2018, Turner earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors after recording 51 tackles — including 10 behind the line of scrimmage — with four sacks and three additional quarterback pressures while starting all 12 contests ... Also named second-team all-league by Phil Steele Publications after ranking among the top 10 in the Sun Belt in stops for loss per game ... Paced the Jaguars in tackles behind the line and was second on the team in sacks ... Credited with a season-best seven stops including two tackles for loss in win over Texas State ... Also made seven stops highlighted by a sack against both Louisiana Tech in the season opener and ULM on Homecoming weekend ... Posted five solo tackles — two of those were behind the line of scrimmage — in season-ending defeat of Coastal Carolina ... Recorded five stops including one behind the line at Oklahoma State and Louisiana as well ... Made four tackles at Arkansas State while finishing with three stops including one for loss at eventual SBC champion Appalachian State and against Troy.
Aaron Brewer (Sr., OL, Dallas, Texas)
One of the top offensive linemen in the Sun Belt Conference…chosen on the All-Sun Belt First Team Offense by Pro Football Focus…named Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt by league coaches and media…started 12 games…had six starts at center and six starts at left tackle…graded as the best run blocker in the Sun Belt for linemen with 200 blocking snaps with a grade of 78.8 and second-best pass blocking grade in the league with 86.2 by Pro Football Focus…surrendered just one sack in 2018.
Bryan London II (Sr., LB, Converse, Texas)
Led the Sun Belt Conference in tackles and solo tackles with 109 total stops and 53 solo...recorded 10 or more tackles in four games...made a season-high of 15 tackles at Troy…had 11 stops against Georgia Southern and 10 tackles against Louisiana and South Alabama…recorded 5.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries…broke up five passes…forced two fumbles versus Texas Southern and recovered one against Georgia Southern…broke up two passes at Troy…earned a Texas State Academic Achievement Award.
Kaleb Barker (Sr., QB, Decatur, Ala.)
On pace for a historic season before suffering a knee injury in week six against Georgia State … Finished the season with the highest completion percentage in school history at 73.0 percent and the fifth-highest efficiency rating (163.6); completion percentage would rank second nationally and QB rating would rank eighth … Threw 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in his six starts, also rushed for 261 yards and three touchdowns … Became the first Troy quarterback since 2012 to rush for more than 100 yards in a game when he rushed for 111 yards on just five carries against Georgia State; had a 75-yard run in the game which is the longest by a quarterback in Troy’s Division I history … Tied Troy’s single-game record with five touchdowns responsible for in the Trojans’ victory over Florida A&M; threw four touchdown passes and rushed for another … Accounted for four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing) in Troy’s win at ULM, its first in Monroe since 2001.
Melvin Tyus (Sr., DB, Montgomery, Ala.)
Named to the 2018 All-Sun Belt Team as an honorable mention selection … Started all 13 games at cat safety … Finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles … Intercepted a pass to seal Troy’s victory over Texas State … Posted a season-high eight tackles plus a tackle for loss in Troy’s win at Nebraska … Added seven tackles and a half tackle for loss against Louisiana … Broke up a pass in each of Troy’s final two games of the regular season.