Arkansas State football picked to finish 6th in Sun Belt Preseason Poll, three named All-SBC Preseason

Butch Jones reflects before 2021 finale
Butch Jones reflects before 2021 finale
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 12:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2022 at 11:39 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State football is picked to finish 6th in the Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll, released Monday afternoon.

Louisiana is picked to repeat as West Division Champions with 12 out of 14 first-place votes, followed by South Alabama (2 first-place votes), Troy, Texas State, Southern Miss, Arkansas State and ULM rounding out the list.

The Red Wolves finished fifth in the Sun Belt West last year, going 1-7 in SBC play.

A-State had three players represented in the All-Sun Belt Preseason teams: Linebacker Kivon Bennett (First Team Defense), return specialist Johnnie Lang (First Team Special Teams) and wide receiver Te’Vailance Hunt (Second Team Offense).

Bennett had a monster year at defensive end for the Red Wolves, ranking second in the Sun Belt with 16.5 tackles for a loss and fourth with 8 sacks. He also had an 80-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown at Georgia State. His performances last season earned him Second Team All-Sun Belt, Phil Steele Third Team All-Sun Belt and PFF First Team All-Sun Belt.

He’ll change positions to linebacker for the upcoming season.

Lang, named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List last week, graded as the Sun Belt’s best punt returner according to Pro Football Focus in 2021. He returned 15 punts for 124 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown against Tulsa. His 8.3 punt yards per return led the Sun Belt, earning First Team All-Sun Belt punt returner honors from Phil Steele and PFF. He had 480 all-purpose yards last season.

Hunt was 7th in the SBC among wide receivers with 740 receiving yards. He was targeted 84 times by James Blackman and Layne Hatcher last year, recording 51 receptions (T-8th among WRs) and six scores (T-6th among WRs). He was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List last week and was tabbed a Third Team All-Sun Belt selection as well as Phil Steele and PFF all-conference choice last season.


East Division

1. App State – 94 Points (10)

2. Coastal Carolina – 77 Points (2)

3. Georgia State – 68 Points (1)

4. Marshall – 62 Points

5. Georgia Southern – 35 Points (1)

6. James Madison – 31 Points

7. Old Dominion – 25 Points

West Division

1. Louisiana – 95 Points (12)

2. South Alabama – 79 Points (2)

3. Troy – 76 Points

4. Texas State – 41 Points

5. Southern Miss – 40 Points

6. Arkansas State – 37 Points

7. ULM – 24 Points


Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (RS Jr., QB – Indian Trail, N.C.)

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina (So., DL – Everett, Mass.)

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Offense

QB – Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (RS Jr., QB – Indian Trail, N.C.)

RB – Rasheen Ali, Marshall (RS So., RB – Cleveland, Ohio)

RB – Camerun Peoples, App State (RS Jr., RB – Lineville, Ala.)

OL – Willie Lampkin, Coastal Carolina (Jr., OL – Lakeland, Fla.)

OL – Dalton Cooper, Texas State (So., OL – Prague, Okla.)

OL – Austin Stidham, Troy (Sr., OL – Russellville, Ala.)

OL – Malik Sumter, Georgia State (RS Sr., OL – Irmo, S.C.)

OL – Cooper Hodges, App State (RS Jr., OL – Glen St. Mary, Fla.)

TE – Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion (RS Jr., TE – Camp Hill, Pa.)

WR – Ali Jennings III, Old Dominion (Jr., WR – Richmond, Va.)

WR – Kris Thornton, James Madison (RS Sr., WR – Manassas, Va.)

WR – Tez Johnson, Troy (So., WR – Pinson, Ala.)

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Defense

DL – Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina (So., DL – Everett, Mass.)

DL – Javon Solomon, Troy (So., DL – Tallahassee, Fla.)

DL – Zi’Yon Hill-Green, Louisiana (RS Sr., DL – New Iberia, La.)

DL – Will Choloh, Troy (Sr., DL – Lawrenceville, Ga.)

LB – Carlton Martial, Troy (Sr., LB – Mobile, Ala.0

LB – Blake Carroll, Georgia State (Sr., LB – Lawrenceville, Ga.)

LB – Kivon Bennett, Arkansas State (RS Sr., LB – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

DB – Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama (Sr., DB – Hattiesburg, Miss.)

DB – D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr., DB – Batesville, Miss.)

DB – Antavious Lane, Georgia State (RS Jr., DB – West Palm Beach, Fla.)

DB – Eric Garror, Louisiana (Sr., DB – Mobile, Ala.)

DB – Keith Gallmon Jr., South Alabama (Sr., DB – Mobile, Ala.)

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Special Teams

K – Seth Keller, Texas State (Jr., K – Colleyville, Texas)

P – Rhys Byrns, Louisiana (Sr., P – Rye, Australia)

RS – Johnnie Lang, Arkansas State (RS Sr., RS – Palmetto, Fla.)

AP – Chris Smith, Louisiana (RS Jr., AP – Louisville, Miss.)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Offense

QB – Chase Brice, App State (RS Sr., QB – Grayson, Ga.)

RB – Nate Noel, App State (So., RB – Miami, Fla.)

RB – Tucker Gregg, Georgia State (Sr., RB – Chatsworth, Ga.)

OL – Travis Glover, Georgia State (RS Sr., OL – Vienna, Ga.)

OL – Kyle Hergel, Texas State (Jr., OL – Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

OL – Damion Daley, App State (RS Jr., OL – Columbia, S.C.)

OL – Pat Bartlett, Georgia State (RS Sr., OL – Newtown, Pa.)

OL – Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion (RS Jr., OL – Waxhaw, N.C.)

TE – Aubry Payne, Georgia State (RS Sr., TE – Locust Grove, Ga.)

WR – Te’Vailance Hunt, Arkansas State (Sr., WR – Texarkana, Texas)

WR – Jalen Wayne, South Alabama (Sr., WR – Spanish Fort, Ala.)

WR – Boogie Knight, ULM (Gr., WR – Jefferson, Ohio)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Defense

DL – Richard Jibunor, Troy (Jr., DL – Delta State, Nigeria)

DL – Thomas Gore, Georgia State (RS Jr., DL – Nashville, Tenn.)

DL – Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina (RS Sr., DL – Dorchester, Mass.)

DL – Justin Ellis, Georgia Southern (6th Yr., DL – Roswell, Ga.)

LB – Nick Hampton, App State (RS Jr., LB – Anderson, S.C.)

LB – Abraham Beauplan, Marshall (RS Sr., LB – Boynton Beach, Fla.)

LB – Andre Jones, Louisiana (RS Sr., LB – Varnado, La.) LB – Trey Cobb, App State (Sr., LB – Waycross, Ga.)

DB – Steven Jones Jr., App State (RS Sr., DB – Rockingham, N.C.)

DB – Derrick Canteen, Georgia Southern (RS Jr., DB – Evans, Ga.)

DB – Steven Gilmore, Marshall (Sr., DB – Rock Hill, S.C.)

DB – TJ Harris, Troy (Sr., DB – Leesburg, Ga.)

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Special Teams

K – Calum Sutherland, ULM (6th Yr., K – Keller, Texas)

P – Anthony Beck II, Georgia Southern (RS Sr., P – Guyton, Ga.)

RS – Camron Harrell, Southern Miss (Sr., RS – Bradley, Ill.)

AP – Amare Jones, Georgia Southern (5th Yr., AP – Frisco, Texas)

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